Seven Canadians face criminal charges that they ran a phony lottery scheme that sought to defraud consumers in the United States using telemarketing, the U.S. Attorney's office in Boston said Friday.
According to the U.S. Attorney's office and the FBI, the seven defendants, operating from Montreal, called U.S. consumers and identified themselves as representatives of the Nevada State Gaming Control Board. Victims were told they had won a lottery prize, often a multimillion-dollar award up to $25 million, but had to pay taxes and fees on the prize before they could receive it.
If a victim sent money, he often got further calls asking for more funds, such as for delivery and insurance charges or on the premise that the prize had increased and so higher fees were required, the U.S. Attorney's office said. Some also received forged documents bearing the logo of the Nevada State Gaming Control Board.
None of the victims ever received prizes, the U.S. Attorney's office said. The defendants face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.