Ore. AG looking for victims in home business scheme

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by KGW Reporter Erica Heartquist

NWCN.com

Posted on May 7, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 7 at 1:43 PM

SALEM - A Salem woman said she was scammed out of thousands of dollars, after two men told her they'd help her start a home business.

She's not alone.

The Oregon attorney general's office said the men took money from more than 100 Oregon seniors.

Our Unit 8 investigation found the men have had trouble with the law for more than a decade.

Jean McDonald, 75, said she has learned her lesson about aggressive telemarketers.

"What you need to do is, when they get started like that, is just hang up, because you're not going to win," said McDonald.

She should know. She lost, to the tune of $22,500.

She was one of at least 112 people who fell victim to a so-called telemarketing business scheme in Oregon.

"Well, at least it makes you feel like you're not the only one that was that stupid to get involved in it," she said.

The attorney general's office said Leary Darling and Lance Himes called seniors and offered to help start a business online making money from home. They'd promise revenue and even to develop a website. The catch? They'd require people to pay up front and keep paying.

But the people who invested with them never made the money they were promised.

"This all began in 2011. As far as we can tell that's when they both got out of prison," said Jeff Manning with the Oregon attorney general's office.

KGW Unit 8 did a background search of Darling and Himes and found both served time in an Arizona prison.

Leary Darling, 57, served 21 years for two counts of second-degree murder. Lance Himes, 39, served nine years for kidnapping.

"It was a very big mistake to listen to Lance Himes and Larry Darling," said Manning.

On Monday, a settlement became final. The men agreed to stop doing business in Oregon, pay the state $400,000 and pay full refunds to all of their Oregon victims.

And if you lost money with them, the attorney general's office really wants to hear from you.

You can call 1 (877) 877-9392, or click here

"Regardless of how embarrassed they may be, we want them to come forward, file written complaints and start the process of getting refunds," said Manning.

A refund McDonald said she needs.

"That's my retirement. I'm going to be 76 in July. I don't have time to start over again," she said.

If you've been a victim to this scheme, you have 180 days to formally file a complaint with the state for a refund.

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