Three People Indicted in Las Vegas Over $15.5m Sweepstake Fraud

  • The mass-mailing scheme scammed a total of $15.5m from thousands of people
  • The trio mailed out millions of fake prize notices between 2012 and 2018
  • People who thought they won a prize would send a processing fee of $20-$50
Fraud in magnifying glass
Three people have been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly operating a fake sweepstakes scheme that scammed about $15.5m from victims. [Image:]

A major scheme

A Las Vegas federal grand jury has indicted three people over a sweepstake fraud scheme that impacted thousands of people. The US Department of Justice issued a statement on Thursday regarding the case.

a mass-mailing scheme that tricked thousands

The three individuals named are Kimberly Stamps, John Kyle Muller, and Barbara Trickle. They allegedly conspired to operate a mass-mailing scheme that tricked thousands of people into paying money to them in return for supposed cash prizes.

A lot of the victims were vulnerable and elderly, with the total losses reaching around $15.5m. Those operating the fraudulent scheme mailed out millions of fake prize notices between 2012 and 2018.

Swindling hard-working people

Each of the three perpetrators of the Las Vegas sweepstake fraud faces numerous counts of wire fraud and mail fraud, as well as conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. Each count can carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years and a fine worth up to $250,000 or double the gross gain from the offense. The first court hearing in the case will take place on February 15.

According to the indictment, Muller and Stamps would choose and edit the mail materials and process any subsequent payments. Trickle was allegedly in charge of creating the mailings and sending them out, as well as analyzing the data from respondents. She was the owner and operator of a Las Vegas-based mailing and printing business.

recipient would be told to pay a processing fee of $20-$50

The correspondence they would send out would claim that the recipient won a substantial cash prize. In order to get the money, the recipient would be told to pay a processing fee of $20-$50. The fraudsters would keep this money and not send out any cash prizes. On the surface, it looked like the correspondences were personalized, but they were actually mass-produced. The name and address details came through mailing lists that the defendants rented or bought.

Brought to justice

The US Postal Service (USPS) reached an agreement with the fraudsters back in 2012 after issuing a cease and desist order but the three individuals decided to keep operating the scheme. This led the USPS to conduct the most recent investigation.

The inspector in charge of the case, Eric Shen, spoke about how the indicted trio “took advantage of the euphoria of winning a prize to trick victims out of their money, when in fact they knew there was no prize waiting.” He affirmed that those responsible woluld “face their comeuppance.”

In a recent similar scam, fraudsters in the UK scammed the public by sending them letters saying they had won prizes in a lottery associated with the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

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