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Press Release

New Britain Man Indicted for Scheme Targeting Elderly Victims

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Ketty Larco-Ward, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division, today announced that a federal grand jury in New Haven has returned a 10-count indictment charging ALRICK ANTHONY GARDNER, 32, of New Britain, with fraud offenses stemming from his alleged participation in a sweepstakes scam that defrauded primarily elderly victims across the country of millions of dollars.

Gardner was arrested yesterday.  He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert A. Richardson in Hartford, entered pleas of not guilty to the charges, and was released on a $50,000 bond pending trial.

The indictment alleges that, since at least 2020, Gardner and his associates used a sweepstakes scheme to induce elderly victims to provide them with money.  As part of this scheme, scammers notified victims, primarily by telephone, that they won a Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes.  The victims were told that in order to collect their winnings, they must pay fees and taxes.  Following the initial phone call, Gardner sometimes mailed the victims fake documents, including a “winning notification” letter from Publishers Clearing House and a letter from the Internal Revenue Service stating that the victims were required by law to pay taxes on their winnings.  Victims sent cash, money orders or checks through the mail to various addresses in Connecticut and throughout the U.S.  Gardner deposited some of that money into his personal bank account.

The indictment charges Gardner with six counts mail fraud and four counts of wire fraud.  Each of these charges carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years. 

U.S. Attorney Avery stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service with the assistance of the New Britain Police Department.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather L. Cherry.

The Justice Department has established a National Elder Fraud Hotline to provide services to seniors who may be victims of financial fraud.  The Hotline is staffed by experienced case managers who can provide personalized support to callers.  Case managers assist callers with reporting the suspected fraud to relevant agencies and by providing resources and referrals to other appropriate services as needed.  When applicable, case managers will complete a complaint form with the Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) for Internet-facilitated crimes and submit a consumer complaint to the Federal Trade Commission on behalf of the caller.  The Hotline’s toll-free number is 833-FRAUD-11 (833-372-8311).

Updated February 10, 2023

Elder Justice
Financial Fraud