Long Island Man Pleads Guilty in Multi-Million Dollar Fraudulent Prize Notice Scheme
Five Defendants Now Have Pleaded Guilty to Conspiracy to Defraud Consumers
CENTRAL ISLIP, NY – Earlier today, in federal court in Central Islip, Carmine Maietta pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in connection with a fraudulent mass-mailing scheme that tricked consumers into paying fees for falsely promised cash prizes.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Brian M. Boynton, Acting Assistant Attorney of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, and Daniel B. Brubaker, Inspector-in-Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), announced the guilty pleas.
“With today’s guilty plea, Maietta admits to deceiving elderly and other vulnerable victims into believing they had won cash prizes when, in reality, he was simply pocketing their hard-earned funds,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “This Office is committed to protecting the vulnerable from the financial harm caused by fraudulent mail solicitation schemes.”
“Mass mailing fraud schemes often trick elderly victims into sending money based on false promises of large cash prizes,” stated Acting Assistant Attorney General Boynton. “The Department of Justice is committed to pursuing and prosecuting the perpetrators of these schemes.”
“Sweepstakes and other frauds are extremely damaging to those who fall victim to a scammers’ pitch of trickery and lies. These fraudulent schemes by design are nothing more than lies written on paper. Postal Inspectors will always vigorously pursue individuals who prey on the public, bringing them to justice for their criminal activity,” stated USPIS Inspector-in-Charge Brubaker.
According to court documents, from November 2013 through November 2018, Maietta engaged in a direct-mail scheme that sent fraudulent prize notification mailings to thousands of consumers. The mailings induced consumers to pay a fee, purportedly in return for a large cash prize. None of the consumers who sent a fee ever received such a prize.
Four other defendants previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud for participating in the scheme. Charles Kafeiti pleaded guilty on December 23, 2020; Steven Diaz pleaded guilty on February 8, 2021; Anthony Kafeiti pleaded guilty on July 28, 2021; and Drew Wilson pleaded guilty on August 24, 2021.
When sentenced, the five defendants each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
Assistant United States Attorney Charles P. Kelly of the Eastern District of New York prosecuted the case with Trial Attorneys Timothy Finley and Daniel Zytnick of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch. The case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service.
The Department of Justice has engaged in extensive efforts to combat elder fraud to halt the widespread financial losses senior citizens suffer from fraud schemes. If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is available at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This hotline, which is managed by the Office for Victims of Crime at the Department of Justice, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to victims. 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 seven days a week from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Eastern time. English, Spanish and other languages are available.
Additional information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts may be found at www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch. Information about the Department of Justice’s Elder Fraud Initiative is available at www.justice.gov/elderjustice.
Westbury, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No.: 21-CR-639 (JMA)
The Defendants Who Previously Pleaded Guilty:
Mount Sinai, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No.: 21-CR-35 (JMA)
Port Jefferson, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No.: 21-CR-253 (JMA)
E.D.N.Y. Docket No.: 20-CR-578 (JMA)
British Columbia, Canada
E.D.N.Y. Docket No.: 21-CR-373 (JMA)