Foreign Canadian International Lottery Winnings Program Scams - Internet Email, Telephone and Mail Fraud Sweepstake Lotto Ticket Sales Scam
Tired of not winning the government sponsored lotteries after years of playing, you are pleased to receive the following mailer.
"Congratulations! You may receive
a certified check for up to $400,000 U.S. CASH!"
"One Lump Sum! Tax free! Your odds to WIN are 1-6."
"Hundreds of people win every week
using our secret system!"
"You can win as much as you want!"
After receiving this card you call the number provided and listen to someone enthusiastically promote the benefits of purchasing a "membership" in a lottery "pool".
"These group purchases let you share in a series of ticket packages consisting of high-stakes foreign lotteries from Canada and as far away as Spain, Germany and Australia."
The memberships range in price from $29 to thousands of dollars, depending upon how many individual and group plays are purchased, as well as upon how many weeks worth of tickets you purchase.
During the phone call they convince you to buy a membership by saying that you have been "specially selected" as one of a small group to play for a large prize pool; that your odds of winning a large prize are "from very good to practically guaranteed" and that your chances of winning are "definitely enhanced" by purchasing through them.
They say that purchasing their services is a "once in a lifetime chance" to win large sums of money because "this is not a losing chance," and that they employ "experts who are able to choose the highest frequency numbers using scientific methods."
They say that they are legally registered by the various foreign governments to sell the lottery tickets, that they are the sole agent for the lotteries in Australia and for the Northwest German State Lottery (which features a four-color invitation brochure) and that they limit the number of lottery tickets that are sold to help your odds of winning.
One brochure gives you the option of buying a "full ticket" for $766.90 or a "half ticket" for $391.90. After paying, you receive a "confirmation package" containing a listing of the numbers on your tickets and a letter informing you:
"You may WIN and receive a certified check for up to $10,000,000 U.S. CASH!
One Lump Sum! Tax free! Your odds of winning are only 1-6!
That is FANTASTIC! GREAT! THE BEST!"
The confirmation package contains a "Customer Service" 800 number so you can contact them with questions about credit card billing. It also contains a credit card "authorization" slip for you to sign and return, even though they have already charged your credit card for the purchase.
This authorization will be used to persuade dissatisfied consumers not to seek a charge-back from their credit card company.
Contrary to their assertions and fanciful names like Big Win International, Marathon Award Centre or Sunshine Fortuity, the odds of winning anything in these foreign lotteries are non-existent.
They do not have special systems which enhance your odds of winning; you have not been specially selected as one of a small group to play for a large prize; and it is illegal for them to sell foreign lottery tickets to you and for you to purchase foreign lottery tickets from them.
They fail to disclose that only a small portion of the money you pay to them is used for the actual purchase of tickets. In fact, investigations show that less than 7% of the money you pay goes to the purchase of tickets.
After paying about $1 per ticket, they charge as much as $100 per ticket or share in a ticket. Any lottery tickets they do purchase are not sent to you but are kept, along with the proceeds of any winning tickets, by the organizers.
On occasion they indicate that you have won a major cash prize but that to secure the release of the prize, you are required to pay an up-front fee to the company.
No prize has been awarded and you become another victim of just one variation of an advance fee fraud.
Just two such telemarketers have agreed to pay $900,000 for using illegal and deceptive practices when selling these foreign lottery tickets. Over $438,000 in restitution will be distributed to 2,700 consumers who were solicited to buy individual tickets or group shares in the Australian or Spanish lotteries.
People, many of whom are elderly, pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars, sometimes borrowing money or otherwise straining their finances, in the expectation of winning. One 83 year old, Houston, Texas woman bought more than $35,000 in lottery tickets in just a few months after being repeatedly called and harassed by the telemarketers.
Federal law enforcement authorities are intercepting and destroying millions of foreign lottery mailings which are delivered by the truckload into the U.S. Consumers, lured by prospects of instant wealth, are responding to the solicitations that do get through, to the tune of at least $120 million a year, according to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Many of the packages sold are charged to a VISA, M/C or American Express. As they can not get a valid merchant account, through which they can process these credit card transactions, they pay other companies to launder their credit card sales drafts for a 15-20% fee in a process called "factoring".
This use of other businesses' merchant accounts to process their credit card transactions is not authorized by the credit card companies. Woofter Investment Corp, a Las Vegas firm run by Patsy M. Barbour, also known as Patsy Barbour-Woofter, that processed credit card sales drafts for over fifty Canadian foreign lottery telemarketers has agreed to pay $1,000,000 in redress.
How Can You Live On That?
"Transworld Lottery Commission", the "World Currency Transfer Reserve", the "International Lottery Commission", the "Subscription Processing Department" and "El Gordo - The Fat One" are the multiple names of one organization which promises that you will be eligible for chances to win your share of from $45 million to more than $1.2 Billion in prizes.
You are instructed to include from $9.95 to $160, depending on which package you choose, when you return your claim form. The offer claims that payouts to players are "100% confidential and will be paid directly to you in U.S. dollars, with no taxes withheld."
More examples at Lottery Scam, Lotto International, Lottery Scams, Nigerian Lottery Scams, Jamaican Lottery Scam, Latin Lotto, Fake Lottery Tickets.
Everyone's a Winner!
I stumbled across your website while researching a letter I received from the "El Gordo Sweepstake Lottery Company S.A".
I was looking through the letters and the one from Ruth Krammer stood out! Her letter was identical to mine right down to the ticket and serial numbers!
Thanks for letting me know this letter is a fraud!
Denise Cork 29 Sep 2001
The 'Winning Numbers Service' Scam
Lottery scammers are always trying to develop new lists of potential victims. One method used is to send out a mailing, or place ads, which invite lottery players to subscribe to a service that has an amazing record of picking winning numbers.
They will claim that they have a computer with artificial intelligence or that they have a renowned mathematician on staff. They typically charge a nominal fee of $20 to $30 for their service.
In most cases, the numbers sent to you are merely randomly selected numbers or pre-printed forms containing identical numbers.
By subscribing to their service, they know that you are interested in playing the lotteries so your name will be placed on their lead lists for other scams and/or sold to other scammers and list brokers.
Trouble in Paradise
The so-called "New Jackpot Mondial Monaco" lottery became available recently and has since become increasingly popular with families, both in the main island of Tahiti as well as in French Polynesia's outer islands.
But all of them have lost one thousand US dollars each, which is the required sum in order to qualify for a win of $150,000 US dollars "to be won within 90 days".
The game was advertised by way of mailed leaflets which stated "It's very simple. This system relies on arithmetic and logic, it leads all participants to big gains. But beware! Please only send US dollars, we cannot accept any other form of payment".
From Jess H. 9 Aug 2000
I am in a real quandary here. An elderly man who has been like a father to me is getting BILKED, and I MEAN BILKED BAD! He is completely hooked on this whole telemarketer/sweepstakes thing and the whole family is at a loss for what to do.
We have tried talking to him and he will not listen, he thinks we are the ones who are crazy! He was forced into retirement 2 years ago, primarily because as a real estate agent, no one was requesting his services.
This has become his new line of work it seems. He is consumed by it.
He is away for a few days so my mother took myself and my wife to his house to show us the current state of affairs. He has boxes of replies paper-clipped to envelopes waiting to be sent out. His check registers are full of entries for $12.99 here, $18.99 there, $24.99 and so on, going back two years.
He has sent EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS to the CANADIAN LOTTERY!?!?!?!?
What do we do. He is 85 years old and has precious little left. He recently took out a second mortgage for $150,000 to pay off past credit card debt and bills that have been piling up.
We contacted the Elderly Protection Agency and they actually went to his house and interviewed him. They said that since he was "sane" there was nothing that they could do. There will be nothing left soon.
Les, I'm an attorney and willing to take whatever action is required to protect this man from himself. In addition, I am a recovering alcoholic with eleven years sober and I know that one addict talking to another helps when precious little else can.
Are there others out there who have been through this that could talk to this man? Are there any support groups.
I am willing to go anywhere and talk to anyone. And Les, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, for your website. When I returned home tonight I didn't know what to do. Your site was like finding an Oasis. I can't thank you enough for your work.
I live in California in Redwood City and Ted is in Foster City, CA. Any leads or light you can shed would be greatly appreciated. I thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
Sincerely Jess L.
I am as horrified in hearing your story as I was when I researched the material for the site. The sheer volume of victims is as mind-boggling as their losses.
What is worse is the inability of the victims to grasp the fact that they are victims, so adept are the operators of these scams.
As for help, I am afraid it is sadly lacking in our society though you may find help from Phonebusters here in Canada, who take calls from victims and filter back the info to authorities here and the U.S where the sentencing is much higher.
The FTC have a complaint form as does the National Consumers League so try www.ftc.gov www.fraud.org and search my site for Phonebusters and also review the section on victim assistance for further ideas and contacts.
The Attorney General for your state often has a task force dealing with this issue as well. Beyond that you might print out the section that deals with his scam and let him read it.
I sincerely hope he gets the help he needs before it is too late. Would you mind if I paraphrased your plea onto my message board section leaving out your personal details ) so that if there is another viewer who can help, you might receive it that way.
Just be careful you don't fall for a recovery scam operation down the road. For now good luck and keep in touch. Les
Please feel free to post my plea on your board and THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR WORK!
German Lottery Agent Scam
Have you heard of the North West German State Lottery? Do they seem real? I found two of their sites, but one at www.millionwinnings.de/ has been taken down. The other is written solely in German but translated at: www.nkl-lotterie.de/
My 91 year old grandfather has sent one, G. Stepulack, $1600 Canadian dollars over a period of six months to participate in a daily lottery.
I didn't become aware of this until he asked me to make sure he had sent enough money to be in the "big" draw that was coming up and he didn't want to be left out. I started to wonder who, exactly, had received this money, and have been researching this company ever since.
It seems the USPS has known about this man since 1995 and although nothing much has been printed about him they apparently have a notice saying mail directed to this individual in Germany is not to be sent.
P.O. Box 2363,
32013 Herford, Germany.
also G. Stepulack OHG
Liebigstrasse 3 ( BigLieStreet? )
32052 Herford, Germany
The L.A. seems to stand for Lottery Agent! The police here say he is actually a legitimate seller of the state sponsored NKL Lotterie Einnehmer lottery tickets there, although it is illegal to sell or buy them in Canada or the U.S.
How did I deal with my grandfather? He was irate that I dared question this person. So, I sat down and told him that I totally supported his playing lotteries (I lied), and that I wanted him to continue...all I wanted to do was look at the material, note a couple of things to make some enquiries, but that it was really nothing as I was sure he was right.
I would look into being sure he was to be the next millionaire and that I likely totally wrong about my instincts. When he knew that I was on his side and wasn't going to stop him, he let me go ahead.
If you have senior who is being bilked, agree with them. They feel badly enough having lost the money without someone questioning their judgment as well.
Take down necessary info: any personal names, phone numbers, addresses, name of lottery or scam, to whom the cheque should be made to, etc., then check them out through government authorities.
If you find that it is a scam, then please help others by reporting the activity everywhere (the newspaper, the BBB, the RCMP or equivalent, the postal service, and internet sites such as this one).
Hopefully we can help others avoid this type of financial loss, emotional trauma and embarrassment.
Thanks for a great site,
Joanna Stephenson 01/23/02
Not A Good Gamble
On November 13, 2000, a criminal complaint was filed in the Central District of California against Timothy Ryan Babuin, with respect to his role in a Vancouver telemarketing company, NAGG Holdings which allegedly sold bogus lottery tickets and bogus savings bonds to U.S. and Canadian victims.
Babuin was arrested in Canada, and an extradition request has been filed with Canadian authorities.
Worth The Drive
On May 22, 2000, two Montreal telemarketers, George R. Gilham and Lisa A. Pomerantz were sentenced in the Central District of California to 30 months and 27 months imprisonment, respectively after pleading guilty.
They had been arrested in Los Angeles on November 17, 1999, after attempting to pick up $140,000 in cash from an elderly victim in return for a counterfeit $5.5 million check, purportedly for "lottery winnings."
They reportedly drove all the way from Montreal to Los Angeles for the transaction.
Warnings Don't Seem To Work
On February 7, 2000, a criminal complaint was issued in the Central District of California, charging Michael Ghirra, of Vancouver, B.C., with wire fraud and mailing lottery communications.
As the owner and operator of WIN USA (aka International Registration Australian Lottery (IRAL), International Canadian Lottery System, and Ipex Services Ltd.) from approximately April 1997 through November 1998, he reportedly obtained approximately $5 million from his lottery operations over this short period of time.
Ghirra had previously been a defendant in a civil action filed by the FTC on November 7, 1998 concerning his activities with WIN USA and IRAL. That civil action resulted in the granting of the FTC’s motion for summary judgment on April 13, 2000.
01/02 - The Toronto Strategic Partnership charged one man with fraud over $5000 and continue to investigate a fraudulent lottery scammer who targeted American citizens.
It is alleged that between November 2001 and January 2002, Sean Patrick O'Keefe, 34, was involved in a lottery scam whereby victims in his native United States were contacted and advised that they were winners of a two million dollar lottery.
His company, Portico Communications, advised victims to send money for customs fees and taxes via Western Union to a financial institution in the United States. The money was then rerouted to a Toronto branch where he collected the funds.
During this brief time period at least four American senior citizens ranging in age from 71 years to 80 years of age sent in $207,500 USD.
11/01 - The Toronto Strategic Partnership charged one man with fraud over $5000 and continues to investigate a fraudulent lottery targeting American senior citizens which may have brought in over $200,000.
It is alleged that between September 2001 and November 5, 2001 Ronald Joseph Frenette, 57, contacted senior citizens in the U.S., informing them that they were winners of a Canadian lottery.
In order to have their fictitious winnings forwarded to them they were required to send various dollar amounts to cover the tax and administration costs. During this time period the suspect received 25 wire transfers in amounts ranging from $465 - $2000 totaling $27,857.00 USD.
Swept Off Her Feet
10/03 CONYERS —Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office reports show that an elderly woman was recently notified that she had won $150,000 from the Motor Vehicle Association Sweepstakes in Charlotte, N.C.
The man who phoned her with the “good news”identified himself as an employee with the Federal Consumer Protection Agency and went on to tell the woman she “would have to pay $750 to a Lloyd’s of London representative in order to cover taxes associated with the prize, as it was actually being funded by a Canadian lottery.”
The woman was instructed to send the money via Western Union to a specific subject via a specific routing number.
The money was sent and picked up by an individual in Costa Rica. The following day, when the woman was again contacted and asked to send an additional $3,000 for taxes, she contacted RCSO and the incident was ultimately referred to state and federal agencies for further investigation.
Lottery Calls From Con-ada
I live in the UK and last night received a very strange phone call from a man with an African sounding accent, calling himself Arnold Brown.
He claimed to be calling from Canada and stated that I had won the Canadian Lottery. When I told him I did not play it he said "That's strange, your number was on a winners list in the last two weeks." He then gave me my full name and address details correctly. However, I said I was in the middle of cooking a meal and he promised to call back in 20 minutes though he never did.
How would I find out if what he said was true and how would he have got all my address details? I checked later with phone company to get a call-back number, which they could not give but confirmed that it was an international call, therefore did not register on the 1471 service we have here.
Name withheld 02/13/02
11/01 - International criminals are scamming pensioners with a fake Canadian lottery scheme, asking victims to send a fee of the equivalent of $2,335 CAD to collect winnings that don't exist, according to Britain's National Criminal Intelligence Service.
Canadian fraudsters telephone British residents telling them they have been entered into the Canadian National Lottery for free. A few weeks later they call back to tell the person they have won a huge prize, but then demand several thousand pounds to pay for the tax on the winnings.
Or victims simply receive a telephone call saying they have won a substantial amount of money in Canada, but are told they need to send an "administrative fee" to release their winnings. No such lottery by that name exists.
Complaints can be directed to the European Enforcement team at Fleetbank House, 2-6 Salisbury Square, London, EC4Y 8JX or e-mail [email protected]
I am very glad I found your site. My fiancé and I became victims of the Canadian Lottery Scam by sending in over $1000 in hopes of a winning that was never to be.
How silly we were to fall for this type of scam, but we did, and now we are just sick. Is there a chance we could get our money back or did we just learn an expensive lesson?
01/02 - A Texas senior received a letter in the mail from the "Canadian National Lotteries ( TransNational Trade Consortium)" notifying her that she was one of the winners in a lottery pool. She was then contacted by phone by a person who instructed her to wire $1,800.00 to a person in Quebec, Canada. see also Advance Fee Sweeps.
Selling dreams... at a 300% markup
By Robert Cribb Staff reporter
TheStar.com link to this excellent report.
VANCOUVER - Just above a plumbing supply store, on the second floor of a nondescript gray building in industrial Vancouver, a receptionist buzzes visitors into the offices of C-W Agencies.
Inside, bland concrete transforms into stylish glass walls and plush seating. A sprawling array of more than 100 desks is filled with people tapping on computer keyboards or working the phones beneath a series of large clocks indicating the time in places like Amsterdam, Hong Kong, London and Auckland, New Zealand.
It bears little resemblance to Toronto's "boiler room" telemarketing operations, where slick-sounding sales staff pitch misleading credit card offers to Americans - usually targeting the poor and elderly. Their offices are generally dingy, with perhaps 20 desks and a bank of phones. Sales staff have no computers, just a "sucker list" of vulnerable marks and a script they read into the phone and embellish with lies.
Most telemarketing firms in Canada are strictly law-abiding and deliver a variety of legitimate goods and services. Some commit outright telephone fraud. Others, such as Vancouver's C-W Agencies, stand in a gray zone of legality.
A giant banner stretches across one side of the bustling Vancouver room, declaring: "Congratulations. We Did It. We Beat Last Year."
Spanning the other side of the room, another banner reads: "Goal for 2002 ... We Can Do It ... $75,000,000."
They "do it" by selling lottery tickets to customers around the world. They move Canadian Lotto 6/49, Canada's Super 7, Instant Million, and Mega Millions, along with French, Spanish, German, British and Australian lottery tickets. It's a large, sophisticated - and highly controversial - business.
The firm claims 700 employees and two international subsidiaries.
Randall Thiemer, president and CEO of C-W Agencies, says his company's annual gross income is close to $100 million.
"We're by far the biggest (lottery ticket reseller) in the world," he beams.
B.C. consumer protection legislation, proclaimed in August, makes it illegal to resell lottery tickets without authorization or special licensing. And no individuals or companies have been licensed as yet, authorities say.
C-W's Thiemer insists that while he has not been licensed to resell lottery tickets under the new legislation, he has been assured by authorities that he will receive one as soon as they start being issued.
"We've been working very closely with the government and our understanding is that we'll be given every opportunity to be licensed. We've got advocates in the legislature. We've been negotiating and that's what we're working toward."
In the meantime, any company reselling lottery tickets in B.C. is doing so illegally, says Derek Sturko, of B.C.'s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch, authors of the legislation.
Thiemer says he'll simply move his operation to Europe if he doesn't get the B.C. license.
"Either way, nothing's going to change."
Lotteries are covered by gambling laws to protect consumers from exploitation. Reselling foreign lottery tickets is illegal in Canada and the United States because licensing bodies would no longer be able to guarantee that protection.
C-W Agencies ran afoul of U.S. law four years ago. The firm pleaded guilty to criminal charges, was fined $500,000 (US), and was ordered to "cease all marketing of lottery products to United States residents."
A bubbly 20-something female recruiter for the firm greets a job seeker with an impressive patter about money-making prospects.
"If you're motivated by money and know how to sell, this is the place to be," she tells a reporter posing as a potential employee. "It's an incredibly lucrative business. We're selling people dreams, and the idea of making money overnight."
Authorities say that cash is generated by charging foreign consumers a lot more than the actual cost of lottery tickets. For example, according to the company Web site, C-W Agencies sells 10 Canadian 6/49 tickets for $30 (US), about $48 Canadian.
The cost of those tickets, at a lottery booth, is $1 a piece, for a total of $10 (Can.).
"They're obviously charging significantly more than the tickets are worth - a 300 per cent mark-up," says Jim Cronin, a spokesperson with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.
C-W's Theimer says his prices are consistent with the rest of the lottery resale industry and are based on markups required to turn a profit.
"We're not making a lot of money doing this."
A common lottery scam on the west coast involves staff in telemarketing boiler rooms calling Americans and Europeans and telling them they've already won a Canadian lottery prize. C-W Agencies does not do this, but other Vancouver telemarketers are involved in such fraud.
They tell people they've won a huge prize and need only to pay taxes and an administration fee, usually between $5,000 and $50,000, to collect.
Robert Cribb can be reached at [email protected]
Trade Commission v. Nanda Kumar Duraisami
The Federal Trade Commission filed suit in U.S. District Court to shut down the operation of a cross-border con artist who targeted elderly U.S. citizens in a bogus foreign lottery scheme. The complaint seeks a permanent ban on the operator's deceptive and illegal practices and redress for consumers.
Pair charged with telemarketing fraud for alleged sweepstakes scheme
Nov 26, 2003
(Providence-AP) -- Two women are charged with cheating elderly victims out of thousands of dollars by charging fees for them to collect fake sweepstakes prizes.
The U-S Attorney's office says 38-year-old Marilyn Cruz, of Providence, and 24-year-old Shanta Garner, of Florida, called senior citizens around the country, telling them they'd won prizes of up to 19 million dollars.
They allegedly told the victims they must wire money to cover fees and taxes in order to claim the prizes.
Prosecutors say they convinced at least 26 people to send a total of more than 400,000 dollars. One victim sent about 56,000 dollars in multiple installments and another, almost 85,000 dollars.
Cruz appeared in federal court in Providence Monday and is being held pending resolution of a detention hearing. Garner is set to appear before a Florida court.
Bogus Canadian Lottery Letter
BRUNSWICK, Ga. - 10/26/04 - According to investigators with the Brunswick Police Department, a scam targeting elderly residents starts in the form of a letter from a group calling itself the National Verification Office of American Benefits. The letter touts an international lottery with a $100,000 grand prize, as well as a fake $2,900 check.
Before the check can be cashed, a call must be made to a Canadian number and you must provide personal information, including bank account numbers. According to police, the group then uses the information to order checks and get credit cards.
Con artists scam woman in 80s
By Eunice Kim / Staff Writer 02/19/04
Scammers who target seniors through phony prize-offering mailings have taken an elderly West Roxbury woman for more than $50,000, police said.
The scam artists from Vancouver, British Columbia, conned the woman, who is in her 80s and lives alone, through a mass mailing that promised, "A share of cash and property totaling $458,260."
The fake document read in bold print "This certification document is urgent" and instructed the woman to immediately mail back a $26 documentation fee.
"They're sending out lines," said District 5 Police Capt. Timothy Murray.
Once a person pays the $26, the scammers "hook" you, said Detective Dan Hennessey, who is investigating the case. They begin calling and asking you to send thousands in checks for other fake fees, such as Canadian taxes, Hennessey said.
The West Roxbury woman, whose name police would not release, paid the initial $26 and then sent cashier's checks through FleetBank at 1857 Centre St., West Roxbury, for $6,000, $6,950 and $9,420 to Century Star Service, a made-up entity.
The victim's bank account at The Cooperative Bank in West Roxbury was also cleaned out of at least $20,000.
Fleet initially contacted police about the unusually large withdrawals by the elderly woman.
Police had set up a partnership with Parkway banks in 2001 to protect elderly from scams. Fleet was able to stop payment of the $9,420 cashier's check the woman wrote last.
Hennessey interviewed the victim at her home, where she had more than 300 pieces of mail. Scammers called three times while Hennessey was there.
A distant relative of the woman assumed power of attorney and took over her accounts.
Elderly Victim of Canadian Lottery Scam
TAUNTON, MA 03/04 —An 81-year-old man was conned out of several thousand dollars by a "Canadian Lottery" scam, police said.
Police credited an alert assistant manager at Shaw's Supermarket with discovering the scam.
The manager became suspicious when the elderly man came to the store and asked to send $1,000 by Western Union to Canada.
The assistant manager inquired about the transaction and told the elderly man he was the victim of a scam.
The victim told Smith he was contacted by phone and advised he had won the "Canadian Lottery."
However, the man was also told he was required to send a large amount of money to cover expenses.
The victim sent the money and was contacted again the next day and informed he needed to send an additional $1,000, which would allow the caller to travel to T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, R.I., the following day to hand-deliver the winnings.
The victim then went to Shaw's to send the additional money, but the assistant manager intervened.
Smith said the same assistant manager alerted Taunton police in 2002 of an identical scam.
U.S. hires Ruby to reclaim money from lottery scam
04/10/04 - Hotshot Toronto criminal lawyer Clayton Ruby has been hired by the United States government to try to recover $100,000 in fines paid by two men convicted for their role in a lottery scam that targeted Americans.
Thousands of U.S. residents whose names appeared on "sucker lists" paid inflated amounts -- an average of $29.95 to $759.50 -- for Lotto 649 tickets in a telemarketing swindle between 1994 and 1998.
Two Toronto men last year pleaded guilty last year to two counts each of selling shares of lottery tickets and one count each of printing gaming information. The prosecution estimated that they swindled their victims of more than $19.7-million (U.S.).
But no one knows what happened to the millions the two grossed before December 1998, when their boiler-room telemarketing operation was shut down.
Mr. Ruby's services were enlisted, he said, because "the U.S. government is very concerned about the treatment of its victims."
Mr. Ruby said that the $100,000 in fines paid by the defendants -- now in the Ontario government's coffers -- is likely all that the victims will see of their lost money.
Ernest Levy and Alan Silverstein, both in their 60s, were fined $50,000 each and told to pay up or face 90 days in jail.
But they were not ordered to make repayment.
At a recent hearing in the Ontario Superior Court, Mr. Ruby urged a judge to set aside the sentence and direct the trial judge to resentence the men and impose a restitution order of $50,000 each.
Thus the money would go to the victims. The appeal judge reserved decision.
Recovery of the missing millions has been hampered by jurisdictional and cross-border issues.
The U.S. government, once it discovered the scam, moved quickly to freeze the two men's assets in the U.S. and to take legal action toward restitution.
In August, 2000, a U.S. district judge in Illinois ordered the men to repay the more than $19-million.
The U.S. also commenced civil action in Canada in December, 1998.
That lawsuit has not been settled, but in June, 2002, an Ontario judge ordered that the U.S. judgment be enforced in Canada.
The men appealed but were unsuccessful.
When he sentenced the men, Judge Paul Bentley of Ontario Court rejected a plea by Toronto civil litigation lawyer Malcolm Ruby (no relation), acting on behalf of the U.S. government to impose a restitution order.
Judge Bentley said the restitution order of the judge in the civil case should not affect the outcome of a criminal matter.
Moreover, the Crown prosecutors did not ask for a repayment order, telling the judge that the victims were protected because several hundred thousand dollars had been recovered from the two men in the U.S.
The prosecution was given wrong information, Mr. Ruby told the court. Less than $3,000 has been recovered from the two men's assets in the U.S.
Mr. Levy and Mr. Silverstein bought legitimate Lotto 649 tickets and sold them to Americans phoned by about 200 telemarketers, mostly immigrants from Sri Lanka.
For minimum wage, the telemarketers were taught to use high-pressure tactics and misleading information to sell the tickets.
The victims were told they could buy their own personal ticket or purchase a group package, with winnings shared by all members. No mention was made of the fact that a group usually consisted of 200 to 300 people.
Complaints started flowing in when the promised large winnings did not materialize.
By GAY ABBATE - COURTS REPORTER - Globe and Mail
Elderly Woman Conned Through Phony Canadian Lottery
By STEVE LIEBERMAN - THE JOURNAL NEWS
01/05 - A 71-year-old Clarkstown woman was cheated out of $25,000 through a phony telephone lottery scam, Clarkstown police said yesterday.
A caller told the woman in early November that she had won the $300,000 Canadian lottery and could collect the money after paying taxes, police said.
The woman sent $1,500 to a Chicago address through Western Union. The scammers made follow-up calls and she made 19 payments to various people over the next two months, bringing the total to $25,000, police said.
"Once they hooked her," Detective Sgt. James Doyle said, "they started bleeding her dry for more money."
Doyle said the "Canadian Lottery Scam" targeted mostly older women and that 1.8 million people nationwide had been victimized last year by similar scams.
"There is no such thing as a free lunch," he said.
Doyle said he had spoken with the FBI in hopes that the federal agency could provide the woman with some help. The telephone call came from a 877 number, he said, and was routed through different phone lines and telephone companies so it could not be traced.
"I don't know where the call originated from," Doyle said. "I don't even know how they pick their victims. They could make 50 blind phone calls and get nowhere and the 51st person agrees."
Doyle pointed out that it was illegal to play a foreign lottery by mail or phone.
In addition, he said, buying one ticket could get a person added to an international list that scammers use to search for potential victims.
Canadian Lottery scam claims elderly woman's savings
By Edward J. Sisson - Lebanon Daily Record
03/05 - A Canadian Lottery scam, first reported in the United States several years ago, apparently has resurfaced and cost an elderly Lebanon woman nearly $50,000 of her life savings, according to Lebanon police
Detective Lori Adams, who has been investigating the matter.Adams said Monday afternoon that she has been working on the case since it surfaced in February, when she was made aware that the woman had been taking out money orders at several locations for various amounts of money and sending them to Canada.
She said it appears that senior citizens are the targets of these fraudulent telemarketers.
"The victim was contacted by phone by someone who identified themselves as being with U.S. Customs and told her she had won the Canadian Lottery and in order to receive the winnings she had to forward certain amounts of money to pay for fees, taxes, that type of thing, to get the money sent to her, with the promise she would be reimbursed the amount she was out," Adams said.
"Her story was, they continued to require fees while still guaranteeing her that the money would be forthcoming that day or be delivered a certain day," Adams said. "That day came -- no money. They would call her again and apologize saying there was some sort of error and that more forms needed to be filled out and this would require her to send more money."
Adams said the caller had convinced the woman of his sincerity to the point that she continued to send money, believing she would eventually receive the lottery winnings he promised and also be reimbursed the cash she had already spent.
Adams received information Friday from a local man that he, too, had received a phone call claiming he had won the Canadian Lottery.
"The main thing is that (the callers) are identifying themselves as either with U.S. Customs, the IRS, any federal agency to get the victims to believe they are legitimate," Adams said.
Adams added that, in some cases, the caller will give phony reasons for the victims to not notify their local law enforcement officials or the individuals' banks, or to make their winnings known publicly, claiming that this could cost them their lottery winnings due to a Canadian legal stipulation.
Also Friday, a local woman came to the police department with a mailing she had received from an address in Ottawa, Ontario, claiming she was one of a dozen winners of the Canadian Lottery.
Enclosed was a money order for more than $4,500 that she learned was bogus when she took it to her local bank for verification.
The woman had been instructed in the mailing to call an account manager to receive more information on her winnings and what to do with the money order.
Adams said contacting the bank first and then local law enforcement probably saved the woman $4,500 of her own money.
"I've been in contact with the Federal Trade Commission and other different agencies," Adams said. "They're aware of it. Since we're dealing with Canada, we're just not sure and they're not sure what, if anything, can be done to get back the money for those who have been scammed."
Adams said the first clue that a call or mailing is a scam is if you're asked to pay to receive the money or a gift you are told you've won.
"This is what I told all of them. If something is legitimate, you don't have to pay," Adams said. "Like if you win the Missouri Lottery, you're not required to send money in order to get your money. Anytime that someone contacts you by phone or by mail and requires you to send a certain amount of dollars to receive a prize, or cash, or whatever, it's a scam."
She added that anyone who receives such a call or correspondence and is suspicious of it should contact their local police or sheriff's departments.
Meanwhile, Jim Gardner, press secretary for Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon, said Monday afternoon that such scams go underground for a time and then resurface in different forms.
He said the so-called "Nigerian Scam," which like the Canadian Lottery scam is also an advanced fee fraud scheme, is an example.
"But, the method of operation is basically the same," Gardner said. "Somebody will receive a phone call or an e-mail saying they won a foreign lottery and that they need to either send a relatively large sum of money for a processing fee, or in some instances they ask for a bank account number so they say they can transfer the money into it.
If (the victim) sends the money, of course, they never see it again. If they actually give their bank account number, chances are they'll find their bank account drained in a very short period of time."
He said when such incidents begin to resurface the attorney general's office wants to know about them so their investigators can look into the scams.
There is a toll-free consumer protection hot line available through the Missouri state attorney general's office at 1-800-392-8222.
Bogus British Bond Investment Program
VANCOUVER - 05/07 (Vancouver Sun) Three men accused of bilking hundreds of American investors of $3 million in an international telemarketing fraud will be held in a Canadian jail to await extradition to the U.S.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice T. Mark McEwan this week granted a request by the federal attorney-general that Omid Tahvili, Reginald Sanjay Pal and Derrick Joseph Squires be remanded in custody pending their surrender to the U.S.
The three men are accused of running a Vancouver-based telemarketing fraud scheme, called Lottery Companies, which targeted elderly and vulnerable Americans between March 1999 and May 2002.
Tahvili, of North Vancouver, was allegedly the principal of the company, while Pal and Squires were his employees.
Under the scheme, telemarketers allegedly hired by Tahvili called elderly Americans from Canada, informing them they had won a lottery or would receive money through a British bond investment program.
Before they could collect their cash, though, they had to send "fees" for such things as taxes, expenses, activation and currency conversion. None of the victims received any money, yet many plowed significant sums into the scheme, the judge noted.
Cheques were made out to entities called D&C National Holdings Ltd. and First British National Holdings, and were sent to one of five commercial mailboxes in Canada.
The scheme was investigated by both the FBI and RCMP.
In his reasons for judgment, McEwan ruled the trio should be committed to custody because there was reliable evidence of "the parallel Canadian crime upon which a reasonable jury, properly instructed, could convict" if the case was tried here.
Justifying a committal depends on admissibility, double criminality, basic fairness and constitutional guarantees, the judge said.
"It matters not whether the case against the person sought is 'weak' or whether the prospect for conviction is 'likely,'" the judge said. "The ultimate question of guilt or innocence is for the trial court in the foreign jurisdiction."
He noted Tahvili, Pal and Squires didn't take issue as to whether the scheme was fraudulent but whether the evidence was sufficient to connect them with it.
Tahvili had also argued the case against him does not necessarily implicate him in wrongdoing.
Justice McEwan ruled the evidence showed Tahvili had incorporated First British National Holdings as a sole director, and, along with Squires, was also a director of D&C.
There was also evidence that Pal was second in command, the judge said.
"There is little doubt that the available evidence suggests that someone committed acts relating to each of the complainants, that there were intentional uses of dishonest means... to deprive them of their property," the judge wrote.
"There is no innocent cast that can be put on a promise of great riches or spectacular returns on an investment in exchange for a payment of hundreds or thousands of dollars where the explanation of the payment is untenable [taxes, expenses] and the promised thing itself [a lottery win, British bonds] is imaginary."
Have you heard of a lottery called The Great 8? Somehow connected with it is something calling itself the "New Irish Sweepstakes Mutual Medical Insurance Trust Pension Fund" with a Sir William Winfield, Treasurer. ( www.irish-sweepstakes.com/aTpad/TPBeneficiaryTrust.html )
You pay into a pension fund and name your beneficiaries..... supposedly you earn 25% interest --
I think -- I'm quite sure -- I've lost some $1200 here but I can't find any evidence of this thing existing either legitimately or illegitimately. Can you tell me anything?
The return envelopes looked just like the ones for the "El Gordo" and the German lotteries, although they went to different addresses, one in Texas, another in Delaware, and elsewhere.
Here's a quote:
"The International Irish Sweepstakes Triple Crown Lottery & the preliminary Great 8 Daily Marathon are funded, controlled by the New Irish Sweepstakes Medical Insurance Trust. The Organization is a nonprofit Community Remainder Trust founded and funded by the Living Trust of Sir Jacob Winfield III, County of Cork, and was established by due legal process in accordance with both international and common law after his death on April 10, 1995."
"Whereas, it has become an active trust perpetuated by a professional Trustee who superintends a giant international lottery sweepstakes which culminates with the running of the equestrian competition internationally known as the Triple Crown (see file CC record 23883)."
"Trust Bylaws: In keeping with the tradition of the world famous, but now defunct, Irish Hospital Sweepstakes, the bylaws require that ten percent of the profits from the sale of lottery tickets be used to fund FREE medical insurance pools operated internationally in North America, Asia and the European Union. The remainder of the profits are used to enlarge the sweepstakes itself and to multiply the prize money on behalf of the winners in perpetuity."
Says it's a member of the International Pension Fund Audit Bureau.
Tesa Hayashi 03/22/02
The only government sponsored official lottery for Ireland appears to be the Irish Lotto 6/42.
Linked to the questioned site is www.irishgreat8.com www.newirishsweepstakes.com www.great8results.com www.ckws.com www.krustylu.com
The registrant of Irishgreat.com Irishgreat8.com and newirishsweepstakes.com is
The Shamrock Agency
43 Cill Chais Shannon - County Clare, IE
Contact: Winnfield, William (WW1875)
Created on 16-Apr-1998. Domain servers: TOWNSQR.COM PCIS.NET
Town Square Internet ( townsqr.com )
1528 Imperial Center West Plains, MO 65775 417-256-3848
Panther Creek Information Services ( pcis.net )
1920 Panther Creek Rd. Fordland, MO 65652 US 417-767-2126
Registrant of great8results.com krustylu.com ckws.com
Domain server: ckws.com Created July 12/01 and May 7/01
Incomplete info given but the contact is [email protected] who is the registrant of brocoli.com
We Domain Names
2312 Kings Road. #4, Suite #41
San Leandro, CA 92944 US
Contact: Brooke, Richard [email protected]
Created on 01-Jan-2000. Domain server: ckws.com
Micro Excell Computers ( microxl.net )
101 Broad Street Attalla, Alabama 35901
101 Broad Street Gadsden, Alabama 35901
Other Lotto Pool and Internet Lottery Offerings
www.thelottopool.com - Spam offering
Australian Lottery, World Lottery Office, $16.95
Nigerian Advance Fee Lottery Winning Notification Scams
Take Special Note: The examples you will see on the Nigerian Advance Fee Lottery Scam page, while promoting the fact that you have won a lottery, are sent predominantly by email and represent a consumer focused version of the Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud which usually targets businesses and religious organizations.
The Nigerian scammers running this operation out of a base in the Netherlands find that collectively seeking an average victim loss of about $1500 from individuals is easier and quicker than the average $10,000 they regularly take from businessmen who are offered a percentage of millions of dollars for their assistance in transferring funds overseas.
Note: The names of some reputable and valid lotteries have been misused by the scammers.
Other Lottery Scam links.
World Lottery Organization list of lottery fraud operations or illicit lottery activities.
Lottery Prize Scams - NZ Gov