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Justice News

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

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Albany Man Pleads Guilty to Lottery Fraud

Defendant Admits Role in “Advance Fee Fraud” Scheme that Targeted Elderly Victims

ALBANY, NEW YORK – On January 20, 2015, DOUGLAS E. WATSON, II, 30, of Albany, NY, pled guilty to three felony counts of mail fraud in connection with a lottery fraud scheme 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. Sentencing is scheduled for May 20, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. For each count of conviction, the defendant faces a maximum term of imprisonment of twenty years and a maximum fine of $250,000.

As part of the “advance fee fraud” scheme, victims were informed that they had won the New York State lottery but that they needed to send cash payments for taxes and processing fees to claim their winnings.

The defendant admitted that he received two packages from victims containing tens of thousands of dollars in cash and sent a false receipt to cover up the fraud. The defendant pled guilty immediately before a federal jury trial was set to begin in Albany before United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino.

The prosecution resulted from a joint investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service, Homeland Security Investigations, the Pittsfield (Massachusetts) Police Department, and the Albany Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sean O’Dowd.

Updated February 3, 2015