Federal authorities have entered permanent injunctions against 15 individuals and ordered them to cease their involvement in multi-million-dollar mail fraud schemes.
Anthony Kafeiti, of Port Jefferson, and Steven Diaz, of Mount Sinai, coordinated the schemes, according to federal officials. Documents show the individuals targeted elderly by falsely stating that they won large sums of money in exchange for a fee, but never gave the victim’s their winnings.
The schemes grossed $4.8 million in fraudulent proceedings over the past year, according to authorities.
“These permanent injunctions stop unscrupulous individuals and companies from conducting fraudulent solicitation schemes that targeted the elderly in our district and throughout the country and the world,” said U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue of the Eastern District of New York. “This office will continue to use all available resources to protect victims of get-rich-quick schemes.”
Officials said the 15 individuals participated in the schemes in a variety of ways, including facilitating the mailing of fraudulent solicitations that victimized the elderly or vulnerable. The solicitations informed recipients throughout the world that they had won multi-million-dollar cash prizes but needed urgently to pay a fee to claim their winnings. Although victims sent in the requested fees by cash, check or credit card, they did not receive large cash prizes in return.
Some 10 other individuals and companies were connected to the scheme, some were located in Germany, Las Vegas and Vancouver, British Columbia.
The permanent injunctions were issued after the district court granted the government’s request for a temporary restraining order in November 2018. The injunctions prohibit those individuals from sending fraudulent solicitations, receiving, handling or opening any victim mail responding to solicitations and using or benefiting from lists of victims who previously responded to solicitations. The injunction also authorizes the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to open mail that was detained by law enforcement and return payments to the victims of the schemes.
“These defendants were making misleading promises of easy money,” said Delany De Leon-Colon, inspector in charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service Criminal Investigations Group. “Anyone who engages in deceptive practices like this should know they will not go undetected and will be held accountable, regardless of where they are.”
Attorneys for the two individuals named in the alleged scam could not be reached