German Citizen Charged with Orchestrating Mail Fraud Scheme Defrauding Elderly and Vulnerable Victims of Over $10 Million
NEWARK, N.J.– A federal grand jury today indicted a German man with orchestrating a massive mail fraud scheme targeting elderly and otherwise vulnerable victims with false and fraudulent psychic solicitations, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Georg Ingenbleek, 54, a citizen of Germany, is charged with two counts of mail fraud, four counts of money laundering, and one count of obstruction of justice. Ingenbleek was associated with and used a company, Regency Direct Marketing AG, located in Switzerland, for his mass mailing campaigns.
According to the Indictment:
From at least 2011 through 2016, Ingenbleek created numerous direct mail solicitations supposedly from world-renowned psychics, falsely and fraudulently claiming that the recipients were being contacted because they had been the subject of specific visions by the psychics, including visions that the recipients were going to receive large sums of money and good fortune. Many of the letters falsely promised that the psychic services or objects being offered were free of charge. In fact, the letters were mass-produced using software and information provided by Ingenbleek to a direct mail marketing services company, Company-1, located in Piscataway, New Jersey, that Ingenbleek retained to print and mail the solicitations.
Ingenbleek directed a second company, Company-2, to send fraudulent billing notices to the same victims which stated that the victims owed money for psychic services, which in many cases had been offered free of charge. The fraudulent billing notices were labeled “collection notices” and “invoices,” falsely representing that the victims owed late payment fees, and falsely stating that a psychic or astrology organization would refer the victim to a “collection agency” and take legal action if the recipient did not send a check, usually for $20 to $50. Through his fraudulent psychic mailing campaign, Ingenbleek obtained more than $10 million dollars from the victims.
In September 2016, Ingenbleek directed representatives of Company-1 and Company-2 to destroy all materials related to his fraudulent psychic mailings in response to federal criminal investigations into his conduct and the conduct of other participants in the scheme. In one email, dated Sept. 23, 2016, Ingenbleek told a representative of Company-2, “You cannot wait! I advise you urgently to get rid of the material! Use your own car, rent a truck, start today, work all weekend.”
The mail fraud and obstruction counts each carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The money laundering counts each carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, or twice the value of the money instrument or funds involved in the transportation, transmission, or transfer of funds.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge James Buthorn in Newark; special agents of IRS - Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez in Newark; and special agents of HSI New York, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Fayer of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Teich.
The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.