Four men, including two from New York, were charged Tuesday in a scheme to defraud elderly victims out of tens of millions of dollars, according to federal prosecutors.
Sean Novis, 50, and Gary Denkberg, 57, of Long Island and two Canadian nationals are accused of mailing hundreds of thousands of notices that said the receivers are eligible for a cash prize if they paid a small fee. According to the indictment, Novis and Denkberg operated the scheme from January 2003 to September 2016 and the victims who sent in the fee never received a dime.
The two had previously been caught in the fraud before, prosecutors said. Novis and Denkberg received a cease-and-desist from the United States Postal Service in 2012 and agreed to stop their mass-mailing operation, but the mailing continued, according to the indictment.
Their charges include conspiracy to commit mail fraud and multiple mail fraud and wire fraud counts. If convicted, Novis and Denkberg face a statutory maximum sentence of twenty years in prison for each count, and a statutory maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss from the offense.
Separately, Alex Quaglia and Patrick Fraser of Canada were charged in a similar scheme. Prosecutors say Quaglia’s scheme began as early as 2000 and Fraser broke away from Quaglia’s operation to start his own in 2015.
Fraser was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud with Quaglia and with a separate conspiracy charge related to a similar scheme he orchestrated after breaking away from Quaglia’s operation in 2015.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice made an unprecedented number of charges against elderly fraud scammers. The department then launched a hotline for residents to report such crimes.
If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, call the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311).