Chinese National Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison for Acting Within the U.S. as an Unregistered Agent of the People’s Republic of China
CHICAGO — A federal judge has sentenced a woman to five years in prison for bilking an elderly suburban man out of $4.1 million through a telephone sweepstakes scam.
CORINNE DZIESIUTA was working for a call center in Costa Rica when she made numerous telephone calls and sent letters to the elderly victim, who lived in Palatine. The victim was told that he won millions of dollars in a sweepstake but had to pay various fees and taxes in order to collect. Dziesiuta and her co-schemers tricked and bullied the man into transferring large sums of money to accounts she and her co-schemers controlled. Dziesiuta knew the man had not actually won any money, yet she continued to participate in the scheme for more than six years, causing the man to pay more than $4.1 million.
Dziesiuta, 39, who is originally from New Jersey, pleaded guilty in August to one count of wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin on Tuesday imposed the 60-month sentence in federal court in Chicago.
The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nani M. Gilkerson.
The investigation revealed that Dziesiuta, using the name “Lisa Conti,” communicated with the victim from 2010 to 2016. The man made 37 payments, ranging from $23,751 to $210,000.
In 2016 the victim began cooperating with law enforcement, who directed him to inform Dziesiuta that he would only provide additional funds in person. Dziesiuta agreed to travel to New York to meet the victim and collect additional money from him. Dziesiuta was arrested when she arrived at LaGuardia Airport in New York City.