Magazine Sales Crews: Now Exploiting Sick Kids

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

If there's one thing sick and dying children are good for, it's making money. At least that's what the bottom-feeding sales agents for one door-to-door magazine subscription company are using them for, according to a temporary restraining order filed in Washington state.

Why are we writing about something that happened in Seattle? Because there's a good chance the itinerant douchebags at Dynasty Sales will be making their way to Houston -- always a hot spot for "mag crews" who criss-cross the state, peddling nonexistent subscriptions when they're not beating, raping and murdering.

Dynasty sales agents were fraudulently telling customers they were collecting donations on behalf of Seattle Children's Hospital, according to documents filed in King County Superior Court last month. The court issued a temporary restraining order against the Phoenix-based Dynasty, whose agents quickly left town. (Phoenix Children's Hospital warned in a 2010 press release that Dynasty agents were perpetrating a similar scam).

Documents show that the hospital first became aware of the alleged scam in July 2010, when it received calls from customers wanting to verify that their money was actually going to the hospital. The sales agents in that scam worked for Nxcess Sales, which, according to court documents, shares an address with Dynasty. Hospital administrators sent a cease-and-desist letter to Nxcess, and all was quiet until last month, when the hospital received the same calls regarding Dynasty Sales.

Dynasty is owned by Ryan Atkins, a protege of mag sales scion Robert Spruiell, who was stabbed to death in a Florida motel in 2008. (According to the Seattle court documents, Atkins subsequently took over one of Spruiell's companies. We're waiting to hear back from Atkins and will update accordingly.)

Included in the filings is the declaration of a former Dynasty sales agent who stated:

"We told people we were selling books to benefit kids at Children's Hospital with cancer and autism....If the people didn't want to buy the full sale at $55, we told them they could make a direct cash donation to benefit Children's Hospital....After one day, I realized that I was being scammed along all the other young kids that worked there. I talked to people from Indiana, Texas and California. They seemed oddly pumped up about Dynasty Sales. They all seemed like they were brainwashed. They were only getting paid, at the most, $25 per day but were working between eight and twelve hours each day. They were all pretty much stuck because Atkins controlled their food, lodging and transportation." (The ex-agent attached to his statement a copy of a sales packet he was given that suggests agents bring up donations for "the Children's Hospital" when dealing with reluctant prospects.)

We'll be keeping track of Dynasty, and other crews, to see if and when they make it to Houston.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.