Six Defendants Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court for Their Involvement in a Multi-Million-Dollar Lottery Telemarketing Fraud Scheme

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that six defendants extradited from Israel—GUY MAYO, ELAD MAYO, ASI ALMAKIAS, LIOR ORGAD, DAVID YAMIN, and MOR GALANTI—were sentenced yesterday for their participation in a lottery telemarketing fraud scheme through which they stole approximately $2 million from elderly victims in the United States between 2007 and September 2008.

U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan sentenced the defendants to the following prison terms: 108 months for GUY MAYO; 78 months for ELAD MAYO; 72 months for ASI ALMAKIAS; 60 months for LIOR ORGAD; 37 months for MOR GALANTI; and 33 months for DAVID YAMIN.

According to indictments and an information previously filed in Manhattan federal court:

The defendants participated in a phoney “lottery prize” scheme that targeted hundreds of victims, mostly elderly, throughout the United States. The defendants identified victims by purchasing the names and contact information of U.S. residents who subscribed to sweepstakes lotteries from list brokers. They then contacted the victims and solicited information about their finances by falsely telling them that they had won a substantial cash prize, and that they would receive it as soon as they paid the necessary fees and taxes. In reality, there was no lottery prize, and the victims were collectively defrauded out of approximately $2 million.

All six defendants were provisionally arrested in Israel in September 2008 and extradited to the United States in early November 2010.

In addition to the prison terms, Judge KAPLAN sentenced each of the defendants to two years of supervised release. He also imposed an order of forfeiture in the amount of approximately $1.9 million and a special assessment of $100 on each defendant.

In sentencing the defendants, Judge KAPLAN described the criminal scheme in which each defendant participated as a “truly terrible and horrifying crime” that “preyed on people who, for the most part, are unable to defend themselves.” Judge KAPLAN stated that significant prison sentences were warranted because, among other reasons, such fraudulent schemes committed from abroad are “of a character that is epidemic,” and must be deterred.

A seventh defendant, YANIV KALBERS, will be sentenced by Judge KAPLAN on July 25, 2011, at 3:00 p.m.

Mr. BHARARA praised the investigative work of the FBI and the Tel Aviv Fraud Division of the Israel National Police. He also thanked the Office of International Affairs of the United States Department of Justice’s Criminal Division; the Department of International Affairs within the Office of the State Attorney in the Ministry of Justice for the State of Israel; and the Tel Aviv District Attorney’s Office, for their cooperation in the investigation.

This case is being prosecuted by the office’s Organized Crime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys AVI WEITZMAN and STEVE C. LEE are in charge of the prosecution. Assistant U.S. Attorney MICHAEL LOCKARD is in charge of the forfeiture aspects of the case.