LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KAKE) - A Kansas man was among two men charged Wednesday for an alleged decade-long telemarketing scam that primarily targeted elderly victims.

Hays resident 42-year-old Christopher Michael Lang and 44-year-old Michael Alexai Dragunov of Los Angeles are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and nine counts of wire fraud in connection with telemarketing and email marketing targeting the elderly, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California announced on Wednesday. 

Dragunov and Lang allegedly contacted victims, many of whom were elderly, and, to conceal the fraudulent scheme and their true identities, the defendants also used Skype messaging service phone numbers and used aliases instead of their true names. The indictment states that the fraudulent calls occurred from August 2013 to June 2023.

Victims allegedly were induced to enter into agreements with the defendants’ telemarketing companies – agreements that were formalized in documents that were faxed or sent electronically – by falsely representing that the telemarketing companies would assist the victims with selling or renting their timeshare properties for a “one time” advertising fee.

Despite the recurring fees that each victim paid, often reaching the hundreds of thousands over several years, no victim received the timeshare-related services or proceeds promised, the indictment alleges.

Lang was arrested in Kansas on June 28 and is expected to be arraigned in Los Angeles in the coming weeks and Dragunov was arrested on a federal criminal complaint in this matter on June 28 and was ordered jailed without bond. His arraignment is scheduled for July 18 in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles.

If convicted of all charges, Dragunov and Lang would face a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison for each count.

If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is available at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). Information about the Department of Justice’s Elder Fraud Initiative is available at www.justice.gov/elderjustice