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Otis Mays, fake lawyer, charged with terrorism swindle, making child porn

Otis Mays Jr. may have the heart of a lawyer, but he was somewhat lacking in the official credentials.

Otis Mays Jr. may have the heart of a lawyer, but he was somewhat lacking in the official credentials. Sherburne County Jail

According to police, Otis Ray Mays Jr. knows how to run a scam, even if he still needs work on the longevity part.

He decided to pose as a lawyer, since he appears to have the larcenous heart required of the profession. Then he offered to help a husband and wife landlord team evict tenants from their property.

That caper went well enough that Mays chose to dig further into their pockets, according to the U.S. Attorneys Office. He told the couple that their son, a student at the Minnesota State University in Mankato, was visiting terrorism websites, and would soon face federal charges.

Mays convinced them that for $30,000, he could make sure the kid avoided arrest. An additional $6,222 could get the charges dropped altogether. And the caper kept rolling.

He then told the unnamed parents that their son's computer contained pirated videos. This time he upped the make-it-go-away fee to $305,000, apparently certain that he had some very gullible fish on the line. Why video pirating would cost 10 times the legal fee of a terrorism charge is anyone's guess. But Mays seems to have a gift for deception, making him a prime candidate for law school if he ever chooses to go legit.

What he doesn't seem to have is an eye for the long game. After conning the couple out of $340,000, he performed no actual services to aid them in their woes, real or imagined. This was bound to raise the suspicions of even the most guileless marks.

Soon, the FBI and detectives from Bloomington and Richfield were on his trail. They would discover that Mays also has more than a passing interest in acting as well. Or more precisely, according to the U.S. attorney: “In sexually explicit conduct with a minor victim for the purpose of producing video recordings of the conduct.” He was further charged with receiving multiple videos of child porn.

In the end, Mays may have pocketed more than 300 large, but that figure is now accompanied by free lodging, plus three federal counts of wire fraud, nine counts of producing child porn, and 1 count of receiving child porn. And that may not be all.

Evidence suggests there are other victims, say agents. Anyone with info is asked to call the FBI at 763-569-8000.