Sweepstakes scam halted by feds, 4 people face charges

Author: Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) – An international mail sweepstakes scam has been shut down by federal regulators, and four people who played key roles are facing federal fraud charges.

The Federal Trade Commission announced Thursday the Fort Lauderdale-based operation fleeced some $28 million from thousands of people in the U.S. and several other countries. Victims received mailings falsely saying they had won a sweepstakes prize but must first send in a fee of between $30 and $50.

In fact, the FTC says there was no prize and the fee was a scam.

Federal prosecutors also announced charges including mail fraud, money laundering and conspiracy against four people who operated the scheme since at least 2010.

The operation went by many names, including Mail Tree Inc., Spin Mail Inc., National Directory Center and Masterpiece Marketing LLC.

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