Queens Man Sentenced to 36 Months in Prison for Multi-Million Dollar Prize Notice Fraud Scheme
CENTRAL ISLIP, NY – Earlier today, in federal court in Central Islip, Scott Gammon was sentenced by United States District Judge Joan M. Azrack to 36 months in prison for participating in a mass mailing scheme that tricked consumers into paying fees for falsely promised cash prizes. As part of the sentence, Gammon was also ordered to forfeit $139,611.97.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Brian M. Boynton, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, and Daniel B. Brubaker, Inspector-in-Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), announced the sentence.
“Financially exploiting the elderly and other victims through fraudulent prize schemes is a form of abuse and deserving of punishment as today’s sentence demonstrates,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “A term in prison should deter others from preying on the vulnerable.”
“Participants in fraud schemes face the prospect of federal prison,” stated Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Boynton. “The Department of Justice is committed to protecting elderly and vulnerable Americans and to prosecuting individuals who engage in such schemes.”
“Today’s sentencing brings to a close the investigation of Mr. Gammon, who devised a fake prize promotion scheme designed to defraud older Americans and steal from those who believed they had won a prize. Unfortunately, for those who participated, they realized too late that they had been swindled. When a prize did not materialize, and their money was not returned, they became victims. Postal Inspectors remind consumers to be ever vigilant and play an active role in protecting their money. If you’re asked to pay for a prize you didn’t enter to win, it’s a scam,” stated USPIS Inspector-in-Charge Brubaker.
From August 2014 through August 2019, Gammon 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. Co-defendants Christopher King and Natasha Khan also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and are awaiting sentencing.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the case.
Assistant United States Attorney Charles P. Kelly of the Eastern District of New York’s Long Island Criminal Division is prosecuting the case with Trial Attorneys Daniel Zytnick and Timothy Finley of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch. Assistant United States Attorney Tanisha Payne of the Eastern District’s Asset Recovery Section is handing forfeiture matters.
The department seeks to prevent the widespread losses seniors and other consumers suffer from fraud schemes. The best method to prevent fraud is to share information about the various types of elder fraud schemes with relatives, friends, neighbors and other seniors who can use that information to protect themselves.
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 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 seven days a week from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. ET. 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.
The Defendant Sentenced Today:
Howard Beach, Queens
The Defendants Awaiting Sentencing
Oceanside, New York
Elmont, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No.: 22-CR-85 (JMA)