Global Sweepstakes Scam Shutdown

A global sweepstakes scam based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida has been shutdown.  This scam took in more than $28 million from victims throughout the United States and other countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom.  It has been running for years.

They promised people huge prizes and collected millions in fees but never paid out a dime.

These scammers mailed personalized letters falsely telling people that they had won large cash prizes, typically more than $2 million. The prizes are “guaranteed,” the letters stated, but to collect the money, you had to mail them a $20-$30 fee by cash, check or money order. To create a false sense of urgency, they set a deadline, typically 10 days, and warned you that you would forfeit your winnings if you did not pay on time.

Here is an example letter:

Affiliated Opportunities Group letter

In reality, you had not won anything. These scammers have no connection to any sweepstakes and cannot award or pay anyone the promised prizes. Only in dense, confusing language, at the bottom or on the back of the letters, do they admit that the only service they provide is compiling reports about sweepstakes and contests offered by other parties that are open to the public.

The scammers are:

Mail Tree Inc.;
Michael McKay Co.;
Spin Mail Inc.;
MCP Marketing Activities LLC, also doing business as Magellan Mail and Magellan Marketing;
Trans National Concepts Inc.;
Romeria Global LLC, also d/b/a Lowenstein Varick and Nagel;
Supreme Media LLC;
Vernier Holdings Inc.;
Awards Research Consultant LLC;
Mailpro Americas Corp.;
Masterpiece Marketing LLC, also d/b/a Affiliated Opportunities Group (AOG), Corporate Accounting Authority (CAA), Dispatch Notification Services (DNS), Information Reporting Group (IRG), National Directory Center (NDC), and Priority Information Exchange (PIE).

The Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida arrested Matthew Pisoni, Marcus Pradel, John Leon and Victor Ramirez in connection with the sweepstakes operation. All are facing mail fraud conspiracy, money-laundering conspiracy, mail fraud and money laundering charges. – Source FTC

Each count carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in federal prison.

Marcus Pradel is not going to be getting in a lot of golf in jail. 

Marcus Pradel