CHICAGO (CelebrityAccess) — Mike Davenport, the former bassist for the pop-punk bands The Ataris and Versus the World, has been charged by federal prosecutors in connection to his alleged involvement in a multi-million dollar telemarketing scheme.
According to Federal Prosecutors with the Southern District of Illinois, Davenport 49, of Santa Barbara, CA, and Cynthia L. Rawlinson, 51, also of Santa Barbara, CA, were both charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, five counts of wire fraud, and one count of mail fraud.
The indictment stems from Davenport’s and Rawlinson’s alleged participation in a Santa Barbara-based telemarketing business that was known by various names, including DSQ Productions, LLC, Housing Standard, LLC, Anchor House Financial, American Standard, American Standard Online, and Your American Standard.
According to the indictment, American Standard placed ads on Craigslist stating that certain houses were available for sale or rent at very favorable prices. When individuals called in response to these ads, American Standard salespersons told them they would have to purchase American Standard’s list of houses in order to get more information about the property in the Craigslist ad.
Per the federal indictment, the salespersons also said that the houses on the American Standard list were in "pre-foreclosure," that the customers could purchase the houses by simply taking over the homeowners’ mortgage payments, and the deeds to these homes would then be transferred into the customers’ names. The salespersons told the customers that there was a $199 fee for access to the list, but claimed that this $199 fee would cover title searches and deed transfers. In addition, regardless of what area of the country the customers lived in, the salespersons told them that the list contained numerous pre-foreclosure properties that were available in their area.
The indictment further alleges that, after the customers paid the $199 fee, they learned that the houses on American Standard’s list were not available to be purchased. Instead, the customers found that a large number of the addresses contained on the list were fictional and/or no houses existed at those locations.
The indictment charges that Davenport was the owner of American Standard and oversaw the operations of the company. It is alleged that Rawlinson started out as a salesperson, but was promoted to the position of Sales Manager for American Standard’s Santa Barbara office.
Davenport was arrested last month in Little Rock, Arkansas, with $104,000 in cash and faced arraignment in Federal Court on Wednesday. Federal officers are in the process of seizing another $850,000 in his personal bank accounts, according to the Independent.
Both Davenport and Rawlinson have been accused of defrauding as many as 100,000 people to the tune of $27 million and face up to 30 years in prison if convicted. Of course, all suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.