Marketing Bosses Face 20 Years in Prison for Helping Fraudsters Scam the Elderly


June 04, 2024

Promo Protect all your devices, without slowing them down.
Free 30-day trial
Marketing Bosses Face 20 Years in Prison for Helping Fraudsters Scam the Elderly

Two US nationals have been found guilty of mass-mailing fraud for selling consumer data to fraudsters who then targeted vulnerable citizens with fake prizes.

Robert Reger, 57, of Boulder, Colorado, and David Lytle, 64, of Leawood, Kansas, worked for marketing firm Epsilon Data Management LLC (Epsilon) as senior executive and sales manager.

Epsilon provides direct marketing services to clients around the world, offering strategic consulting, marketing analytics, database, email and loyalty marketing technology, predictive modeling, proprietary data, and digital marketing services.

The pair, who were sitting on troves of consumer information, including ways to target individuals, sold targeted lists of consumers and their addresses to perpetrators of fraud schemes involving the sending of deceptive mail to consumers, according to the US Department of Justice.

‘You won!’

Over 10 years, Reger and Lytle used transactional data collected from marketing clients to predict new “responsive buyers” using algorithms and a database of 100 million US households.

“The jury found the defendants knew that their scheme was providing data to fraudster clients,” the DOJ press release states. “Evidence at trial showed that the defendants used Epsilon’s algorithms to predict new lists of consumers most likely to respond to the frauds and that the defendants’ business unit worked with dozens of clients with scam letters promising large prizes or falsely personalized astrological mailings promising wealth.”

Although neither one pleaded guilty, the prosecution concluded that the duo knew perfectly well that their fraudster clients were targeting elderly and vulnerable people with mail-in scams.

“Evidence at trial showed that the defendants sold nearly 100 lists to just one fraudster client, and that the defendants had many other fraudster clients with scam letters,” according to the DOJ. “[…] The conspirators sold lists of consumers to fraudsters, which caused victims to send checks in response to letters promising large cash prizes.”

A full-fledged operation

At trial, victims and their adult children testified about the scam letters falsely promising cash prizes. Evidence presented showed that victims had been targeted for fraud by members of the conspiracy, which included other Epsilon employees as well.

The jury found Reger and Lytle guilty of conspiracy to commit mail or wire fraud. Both face up to 20 years in prison.

According to the Bitdefender 2024 Consumer Cybersecurity Assessment Report, few netizens consider themselves a target for cybercriminals. Furthermore, respondents who say they can recognize a scam were more likely to have experienced one (29%), than those who didn’t always (24%) or never (16%) recognized scams – indicating that those who can’t recognize a scam have experienced one without knowing.

As we recently reported based on other findings in the report, scams run rampant worldwide yet consumers still engage in complacent cybersecurity practices. It’s become imperative for consumers to employ dedicated security on their personal devices.

Bitdefender offers Scamio as a way to combat scams targeting consumers. Scamio is a free scam detector and prevention service for anyone with a Bitdefender account. Suspicious about a certain phone call, email, or SMS? Simply describe the situation to our clever chatbot and let it guide you to safety. You can share with Scamio the exact thing you want to check, such as a screenshot, PDF, QR code, or link. Scamio lets you know in seconds if it’s a sham.




Filip has 15 years of experience in technology journalism. In recent years, he has turned his focus to cybersecurity in his role as Information Security Analyst at Bitdefender.

View all posts

You might also like