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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 14, 2019

West Seneca Man Pleads Guilty To Bilking Victims Out Of Thousands Of Dollars In Scheme Involving Postage Stamps And Lottery Tickets

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Jerry Hayes, 71, of West Seneca, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford to unlawfully mailing lottery tickets and related matter. The charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan P. Cantil, who is handling the case, stated that between 2006 and November 17, 2017, the defendant participated in a scheme to mislead and defraud others. Hayes sent out circulars and solicitation letters encouraging potential participants (victims) to join a “club” and to mail items of nominal value, namely, cash, U.S. postage stamps, and/or unscratched lottery tickets, to two or more purported other “participants,” whose alleged names and addresses were listed on the circulars and solicitation letters.

The solicitation letters directed the victims, in turn, to provide their names and addresses, allegedly so that the information could be added to the top of the solicitation letters, thereby making the victim an “instant benefactor” of all future mailed letters. The defendant advertised that such participation in the club would result in an exponential number of people sending cash, stamps or lottery tickets back to the victim, hence allowing the victim to “get rich” off an initial minimal investment.

The solicitations letters further indicated that the majority of the current club participants resided in Western New York. However, the addresses listed in the solicitation letters were merely post office boxes rented by the defendant and located in Hamburg, West Falls, East Aurora, Athol Springs, Blasdell, Orchard Park, and West Seneca, New York. All of the participants named on the solicitation letters were aliases used by Hayes, and each of the names were associated with a different post office box rented by the defendant.

Hayes mailed circulars and solicitation letters to individuals throughout the United States with a return address of “THG Funding,” PO Box 872, East Aurora, NY, 14052. Each envelope was addressed by hand, and each contained a notation such as: “Christmas Club;” “Requested Material;” “Stamp Club;” or “Personal Stimulus Plan.” The solicitation letters touted in their narratives that such opportunities were an “endless circle of cash,” “make money all year,” “simple inexpensive program could make you a multi-millionaire,” and “receive monthly benefits of $15,000.00.”

As a result of the scheme, Hayes collected approximately $90,713 in cash and postage stamps.

Today’s plea is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Boston Division Inspector-in-Charge Joseph W. Cronin.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 9, 2019, at 2:00 p.m. before Judge Wolford.

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Topic(s): 
Consumer Protection
Financial Fraud
Updated February 14, 2019