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Old-Timers Get 11 Years for Stuffing Ruse

(CN) - An elderly Arkansas couple was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison for a work-at-home scam that defrauded 21,000 victims of $4 million, federal prosecutors said.

Sharon Henningsen, 68, and Timothy Donavan, 64, both of Rudy, Ark., were each sentenced to 135 months in federal prison and fined $250,000, the U.S. Attorney's Office for Fort Smith, Ark., said this week.

The couple ran a letter-stuffing scheme in which victims mailed them checks and money orders from 2005 to 2007.

"The defendants' scheme consisted of mailing false and misleading solicitation letters to more than 1 million people throughout the United States, inviting them to buy materials to stuff and mail envelopes to make money while working from home," prosecutors said in a statement. "The letters stated that a person could earn up to $2,900 to $5,000 or more weekly by purchasing the envelope-stuffing program for prices ranging from $59 to $149."

Henningsen and Donavan ran the scam out of their home under several names, including Home Business Systems, Trail Head Options, and Premier Solutions.

They were indicted on Jan. 25 and a jury convicted them on June 14 of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and 18 counts of mail fraud.

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