Chandler man sentenced in telemarketing scam The Chandler Arizonan

Chandler man sentenced in telemarketing scam

Chandler man sentenced in telemarketing scam
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ARIZONAN NEWS STAFF

 

A Chandler man was recently sentenced for his involvement in  a telemarketing scheme that scammed more than $4 million out of elderly residents. 

Gordon Hardy, 57, was among a group of five defendants who tricked people into investing thousands of dollars for nonexistent business ventures. 

Trevor Gabler, 29, and Brandon Ball, 47, started the telemarketing operation in 2015 by opening multiple call centers in Tempe and Phoenix. 

Callers were instructed to target senior citizens living outside of Arizona and use false names to swindle victims into writing large checks. 

According to court records, Hardy formed Elite Business Strategies in 2015 and opened several bank accounts for the new business. These accounts were used to funnel money from the victims to Gabler and Ball. 

Jackie Whitley, 38, and Brian Lee Gibson, 37, also formed their own corporations around this same time and started opening bank accounts. 

The businesses owned by Hardy, Whitley, and Gibson would receive checks from victims and then they would write checks to Gabler and Ball.

Hardy admitted to owning Elite Business’s bank account, but claimed other people instructed him on what to do with the money deposited into it.

 Hardy said he’d regularly make cash withdrawals from the account and kept some of the cash for himself. 

He further admitted his knowledge of the call centers and what the employees were assigned to do there.

“I knew from overhearing other conversations that the employees were lying to the victims who gave money that was deposited into my account,” Hardy said in a court transcript.

Hardy claimed he left the operation in September 2015. The other defendants continued running the call centers until a federal grand jury issued a 24-count indictment in October 2018.

Hardy and his co-defendants were arraigned on several charges of mail and wire fraud. They were each facing up to 30 years in prison, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office offered plea deals with more lenient penalties. 

Hardy pleaded guilty to knowing about the scam and not reporting it to authorities. His one-year prison sentence was the shortest given among the six defendants. 

Gabler was sentenced to 4.5 years, Ball got five years, Whitley was sentenced to 2.5 years, and Gibson got 15 months. 

All the defendants were ordered to pay $4,116,625 in restitution to the 113 victims who were scammed. Prosecutors asked for Hardy to pay $397,500, which was the amount of funds that passed through his bank account.

Hardy’s been in and out of prison for the last three decades. He’s previously served time in the Arizona Department of Corrections for several drug and robbery convictions. 

Court records indicate Hardy began opening bank accounts for the telemarketing operation a few months after he was released from state prison.

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