Due to the lapse in appropriations, Department of Justice websites will not be regularly updated. The Department’s essential law enforcement and national security functions will continue. Please refer to the Department of Justice’s contingency plan for more information.

You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Albany Man Indicted On Mail Fraud Charges

Lottery Fraud Scheme Targeted Elderly Victims

ALBANY, NEW YORK – A federal grand jury returned an indictment yesterday charging DOUGLAS WATSON, 30, of Albany, NY, with three counts of mail fraud in connection with an “advance-fee scam” that targeted elderly victims, announced United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian, United States Postal Inspection Service - Boston Division Inspector-in-Charge Shelly Binkowski, and Homeland Security Investigations Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Nicholas DiNicola. If convicted, WATSON faces up to twenty years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count. WATSON was arraigned in Albany on Thursday, July 10, 2014, before United States Magistrate Judge Christian F. Hummel and was released on a $25,000 secured bond.

According to the indictment, WATSON received at least $25,000 from elderly victims in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. who sent him money through the United States Mail after being told that they had won the lottery and needed to pay “taxes” and “fees” to claim their winnings. In reality, they had not won any lottery.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The indictment resulted from an investigation conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service and Homeland Security Investigations, with the assistance of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sean O’Dowd.

Updated January 29, 2015