Fake Lottery Tickets
Drug Addicts Victimize Seniors with Fake Lottery Tickets Scam
04/06- (Alberta) - Two Edmonton drug addicts were sentenced yesterday for helping the local kingpin of a lottery scam bilk 94 U.S. victims - most of them seniors - out of more than $368,000.
Miles Strong, 42, was handed a 30-month prison term while Connie Peters, 39, sobbed as she was given a two-year conditional sentence to be served in the community.
Provincial court Judge Michael Stevens-Guille described the lottery scam as "the cowardly preying upon innocent people for greed" and to feed a cocaine habit.
Although Strong and Peters were not the brains of the operation and were used merely as runners, Stevens-Guille said they were "an integral part of the fraud" and they were not "ignorant of what was going on."
The pair pleaded guilty on March 30 to fraud over $5,000.
Court heard the scam robbed some of the elderly victims of their entire savings, including Virginia resident Eugenia Fleet, who was 92 when she lost nearly $60,000 to the fraudsters before a family member alerted the FBI.
Prosecutor Bill Pinckney said scam mastermind Brian Thompson used various cellphones to make calls to his victims in the U.S. between June 2001 and August 2002.
Thompson, who was handed a four-year prison term in August 2003, would tell victims they had won a lottery in Canada, but needed to send cash to access their winnings.
The victims were instructed to wire the money through Western Union, making the transfers payable either to him, Peters, Strong or others accused in the case.
Peters and Strong would pick up the cash at city MoneyMart outlets and bring it back to Thompson.
The agreement was that he would give them 10% of what they picked up, but he often paid them in cocaine or crack cocaine instead, court heard.
Peters made 33 pickups totalling $22,835, while Strong made 83 pickups totalling $129,930.
Stevens-Guille noted Strong was not co-operative, has shown little remorse and was deemed unsuitable for a community-based sentence.
Peters was placed under house arrest for the first 12 months of her sentence and a curfew for the balance. She must also perform 180 hours of community service.
Co-accused, John Peters, is slated to be sentenced in August. A fifth accomplice, Stephen Sutherland, was handed a 30-month jail term in August 2003.
Fake Lottery Ticket Advance Fee Scammers Busted
09/07 - TAMPA, Florida - More than a dozen elderly victims will receive part of $200,000 in restitution from a man who pleaded guilty Monday to managing a telemarketing lottery scam.
Vasilios "Billy" Kolitsidas, 38, was sentenced to just over 5 1/2 years in prison by U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr.
The judge gave Kolitsidas credit for time served in a Canadian prison while he awaited extradition to the United States on charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and money laundering.
He must serve another 21 months to complete his sentence.
As part of a plea agreement, Kolitsidas turned over $200,000 in restitution. His attorney gave prosecutors a check at the hearing. He also must forfeit another $337,000.
Kolitsidas pleaded guilty to his role in a sweepstakes and lottery scheme that scammed more than $1.6-million from victims across Florida and in South Carolina.
An indictment charged him and Serges Jacques Descent, also known as Jack Descent, with persuading 14 people to turn over thousands of dollars in fees and taxes between October 1998 and September 1999 for winnings that never existed.
"I would like to take this time to apologize sincerely to all the victims and their families that were involved, and for all their unjustly suffering," Kolitsidas told the judge.
The telemarketing firm targeted older people who had previously entered sweepstakes contest or been the victims of fraud.
The men said they were calling on behalf of the Canadian government, pretending to disburse winnings, prosecutors said.
The catch: taxes and fees had to be paid first.
The men would have the victims send checks to an address in Montreal and a St. Petersburg address to a company called Group Crown International Inc.
In one scam detailed in court papers, 79-year-old Ada Korf was told she won more than $1-million.
She sent four checks totaling $429,000 to the St. Petersburg address and was told if her bank asked about the money, to say she was investing in Florida real estate.
Descent, who Kolitsidas said approached him about "investing," is serving 10 years in prison.
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