The U.S. Attorney's office in Alexandria and the U.S. Postal Service are investigating allegations that an Alexandria-based organization may have defrauded subscribers to its multilanguage magazines, which has not been published since November 1977.
U.S. Attorney William B. Cummings and Post Inspector Charles Cheezum confirmed that they are looking into circumstances surrounding the American National Heritage Association and its magazine, "Quinto Lingo." Cheezum said the magazine is being investigated for possible mail fraud violations.
The investigation grew from complaints received from Wendy Cleveland, coordinator of the Alexandria Office of Consumer Affairs, according to Cleveland. Cleveland said recently that her office has received about 150 complaints from subscribers who said they had received neither the magazine nor a refund.
The consumer affairs office was able to settle only about 20 of those complaints, Cleveland said.
Endo Peedo, editor of the magazine, said he was aware of the probe but dennied that fraud was involved. Peedo said "the expenses of productions were higher than the income of the subscription proceeds" so publication was suspended for a short time.
The 25,000 subscribers who paid $15 a year for 12 issues of the magazine have not received a copy issure the November 1977 issue, Cleveland said.
Peedo said some subscribers who complained to him received refunds. Others said they would rather have said. Peedo said an issue will be published in January.
Cleveland said that within the past four years "there have been previous gaps in publication of the magazine."
She said she brought the matter to the postal service's attention in 1975 and again in october.
Quinto Lingo is a pamphlet-sized magazine with articles printed in English, Spanish, German, French and other languages. Peedo said the magazine is educational and helps students and other learn or brush up on foreign languages.