Deputy Assistant Attorney General Arun G. Rao Delivers Remarks at the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society’s Distinguished Speaker Series
The Department of Justice has charged a New York resident with knowingly providing lists of potential victims to fraudulent mass-mailing schemes that tricked consumers into paying fees for falsely promised cash prizes and purportedly personalized “psychic” services, announced today.
An indictment filed on March 10, 2020, charged Norman Newman, 73, of Croton-on-Hudson, New York, with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and multiple counts of wire fraud. Newman reported to U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut before Magistrate Judge William Garkfinkel for arraignment on the indictment yesterday morning.
The indictment alleges that Newman provided list-brokerage services for more than 11 years to individuals running mass-mailing fraud schemes. Newman allegedly furnished consumers’ names and addresses to fraudster clients, knowing that the clients were mailing hundreds of thousands of deceptive prize notifications that misled victims into believing that they would receive a cash prize or personalized services upon payment of a fee. Many of the victims were elderly and vulnerable.
“Fraud schemes are intolerable, especially those that harm our nation’s seniors,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Ethan Davis of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “As Attorney General Barr made clear earlier this month when he announced record results in the 2020 Elder Fraud Sweep, the Department of Justice is committed to protecting seniors, including by pursuing and prosecuting those who perpetrate mass mailing fraud.”
According to the indictment, Newman worked in the offices of a list-brokerage company from 2005 until September 2016, when agents of the United States Postal Inspection Service searched the company’s offices and the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch obtained a federal court order enjoining the company from list brokerage related to sweepstakes- and astrology-themed notifications.
Each charge of the indictment carries a statutory maximum sentence of twenty years in prison along with a statutory maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss from the offense.
An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant should be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The United States Postal Inspection Service investigated the case. Trial Attorneys Alistair Reader and Ehren Reynolds of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch and Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Cherry of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut are prosecuting the case.
Since President Trump signed the bipartisan Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act (EAPPA) into law, the Department of Justice has participated in hundreds of enforcement actions in criminal and civil cases that targeted or disproportionately affected seniors. In particular, in March 2020, the department announced the largest elder fraud enforcement action in American history, charging more than 400 defendants in a nationwide elder fraud sweep. The department has likewise conducted hundreds of trainings and outreach sessions across the country since the passage of the Act.
If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is standing by at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This U.S. Department of Justice hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim, and identifying relevant next steps. Case managers will identify appropriate reporting agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with appropriate agencies, and provide resources and referrals, on a case-by-case basis. Reporting is the first step. Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering losses. The hotline is staffed 7 days a week from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. eastern time. English, Spanish and other languages are available.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.