District Court Enters Permanent Injunctions Against 15 Individuals and Companies Involved in Elder Fraud Mail Schemes
CENTRAL ISLIP – The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York entered permanent injunctions against 15 individuals and companies to cease their involvement with fraudulent mailings. According to a complaint filed by the United States in November 2018, the defendants mailed, or assisted the mailing of, thousands of solicitations stylized as individualized notices that falsely stated recipients had won large sums of money or valuable prizes, but had to pay a fee to claim the winnings. Today’s order ends defendants’ involvement in these multi-million dollar mail fraud schemes. These cases are part of the Department of Justice’s Elder Fraud Initiative.
“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,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “This Office will continue to use all available resources to protect victims of get-rich- quick schemes.”
“The Department will vigorously pursue those who peddle false promises of wealth,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt for the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “I look forward to the day when American consumers no longer find fraudulent mailings in their mailboxes.”
“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service has a long history of investigating fraud schemes and protecting customers from scammers. These defendants were making misleading promises of easy money,” stated 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.”
The 15 defendants participated in the schemes in a variety of ways, including facilitating the mailing of fraudulent solicitations related to three mail fraud schemes that primarily 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. The complaint alleged that, in the last year, the schemes collectively grossed an estimated $4.8 million in fraudulent proceeds.
The complaint alleged that defendants Charles Kafeiti of Scottsdale, Arizona; Anthony Kafeiti of Port Jefferson, New York; and Steven L. Diaz of Mt. Sinai, New York, coordinated the schemes. Drew Wilson, a resident of Vancouver, Canada, provided the Kafeitis and Diaz with logistical support. Dennis Hunsaker, a resident of North Las Vegas, Nevada, and his company, Digital Matrix International Inc., provided tools that managed lists of recipients and lists of respondents. Carmine Maietta and Elizabeth Maietta, of Westbury, New York, opened and processed victim returns. A German corporation, SixEvolution GmbH, and its operator, David Anthony, processed victim payments.
The permanent injunctions were issued after the District Court granted the government’s request for a temporary restraining order in November 2018. They prohibit defendants 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 defendants are required to notify the government of any interest or participation in any entity involved in mass-mail marketing, and of their use of any U.S.-based mailboxes. 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.
This matter is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Seth Eichenholtz and John Vagelatos of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, and Trial Attorney Jacqueline Blaesi-Freed of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch. The United States Postal Inspection Service provided investigative support.
Information about the Department of Justice’s Elder Fraud Initative is available at www.justice.gov/elderjustice.
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CV-6581 (JMA)