Second Defendant Sentenced in Multimillion Dollar Telemarketing Scam Targeting Elderly Victims
An individual who managed a multimillion dollar fraudulent telemarketing scam was sentenced on June 25, 2018, to serve 63 months in prison by a federal judge in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Department of Justice announced.
Michael Rossi, 52, of Las Vegas, was sentenced to 63 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. U.S. District Judge Jennifer A. Dorsey also ordered Rossi to pay $2,785,508.36 in restitution, reflecting the victim losses from the scheme.
Rossi pleaded guilty in December 2017 to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud based on his role in managing a telemarketing operation that defrauded thousands of victims, many of whom were elderly, out of millions of dollars. Co-defendant, Glen Burke, 58, of Las Vegas, was sentenced on March 12 to 87 months in prison.
“This case demonstrates the Department of Justice’s commitment to prosecuting scammers who defraud elderly Americans,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We will continue to take every step possible to prosecute perpetrators of elder fraud scams and deliver justice for victims.”
“Seniors and caregivers should be alert to and mindful of these types of scams. Criminals who prey on and steal from seniors will face prosecution and be brought to justice,” said U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson for the District of Nevada. “If someone believes they or someone they know is a victim of elder fraud, they should report it to the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP. The Department of Justice provides a variety of resources relating to elder fraud victimization through its Office of Victims of Crime, which can be reached at www.ovc.gov.”
According to documents filed in court, Rossi managed the fraudulent telemarketing operation for Burke, who controlled the operation. Telemarketers working for Burke and Rossi falsely told victims that they had won one of five valuable prizes: a Chevy Camaro; a Boston Whaler boat; a diamond-and-sapphire bracelet; $3,000 cash; or a cruise that could be exchanged for $2,300. To claim the prize, consumers were told to pay hundreds, or in some cases thousands, of dollars. Once they paid, victims received a nearly worthless piece of costume jewelry or nothing at all.
Individuals who made an initial payment were sometimes called again, and misled into believing they had won an even better prize, in a process called “loading” or “reloading,” which could be repeated multiple times. This caused victims to lose thousands of dollars.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Readler commended the investigative efforts of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. He also thanked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for bringing a civil enforcement action that resulted in the shutdown of the defendants’ telemarketing operation and for the FTC’s assistance during the criminal investigation and prosecution. The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Timothy Finley and Daniel Zytnick of the Consumer Protection Branch of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Dickinson of the District of Nevada.
Additional information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts may be found at http://www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch. For more information about the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada, visit its website at https://www.justice.gov/usao-nv.