Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Janice K. Fedarcyk, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the FBI, announced the extradition from Israel of seven individuals, all residents of Israel, on charges relating to an alleged lottery telemarketing fraud scheme resulting in an alleged loss of $2 million from elderly victims in the United States between 2007 and September 2008. This is the largest number of Israeli citizens ever extradited to a foreign country in a single case.
According to the indictments previously filed in Manhattan federal court, the individuals allegedly participated in a phoney “lottery prize” scheme that targeted hundreds of victims, mostly elderly, throughout the United States. They allegedly identified victims by purchasing the names and contact information of U.S. residents who subscribed to sweepstakes lotteries from list brokers. Supposedly, the victims were then contacted and information was solicited about their finances after being told they had won a substantial cash prize they would receive as soon as they paid the necessary fees and taxes.
All seven individuals were provisionally arrested in Israel in September 2008 based on the indictments. They are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud through telemarketing, which carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison, and two substantive counts of wire fraud through telemarketing. Each of the substantive counts carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison.
Unfortunately, these individuals have been in custody for over two years regarding the alleged criminal activity. The U.S. government extradition process is extremely slow and insufficient, and hopefully these individuals will be afforded the fair administration of due process once they arrive in the United States.
Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.
The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or at one of the offices listed above.