posted on Mar, 19 2010 @ 12:51 PM
I found this interesting.
I had not heard of this case before, and evidently there are still some legal bounces left on the ball.
The link is to the case's appearance on leagle.com (what a fun site!), and you should very much click through, I only post one paragraph cuz I'm
busy right now this morning.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee V. JUAN LUIS LLAMAS,
Llamas's various fraud and money-laundering convictions arose from his participation in an elaborate sweepstakes scheme, which operated from
approximately 2003 to 2006 out of San Jose, Costa Rica. The basic fraud scheme operated essentially as follows: Using lists purchased from "list
brokers," operators placed telephone calls to persons in the United States, falsely claiming to represent organizations, such as the "Global
Sweepstakes Authority" or the "United States Sweepstakes Security Commission," that did not exist. The initial phone calls were placed by operators
called "openers", who would advise potential victims that they had won a cash prize. The openers would explain, however, that a winner was required
to pay an up-front fee, typically between $1500 and $3000, to assure safe delivery of the prize money from outside the country. If the scheme worked,
the victim would wire the fee to the call center through a moneytransferring service such as Western Union. After the fee was transferred, another
operator at the call center - referred to as a "loader" - would call the victim again, seeking to extract an additional payment. In their efforts to
"reload" victims, the loaders would often resort to more devious tricks, asserting that they represented insurance or government agencies and
occasionally threatening their victims with prosecution. No prize money was ever paid, of course, and the fraud scheme continued in this manner until
the victims were no longer willing to cough up additional funds.
The bit about the "vulnerable victim adjustment" (like I say, click through and then scroll down, the whole thing's interesting) does remind me of
something I encountered, when I used to be a taxi driver...I picked up this old white lady, nothing obviously wrong with her, took her home to her
trailer in a nice, adults only, mobile home park...she says the money's inside her place, come on in and she'll pay me...inside I see her place is
kind of a mess (though not as bad as my own place)...she's shuffling around in the papers and junk on top of her desk, and then she breaks out with
this dog-eared glossy snapshot-style photograph, sent to her by Publishers Clearinghouse I believe, showing twenty people standing outside on a lawn,
all waving at the camera and holding one of them human-sized checks with $100,000.00 written on it in big print, and she indicates to me that she's
already won this money and as soon as the check comes in - any day now - she'll pay me the cab fare... Me the taxi driver thinking well ain't that
great, I'm not going to get paid on this one "Okay lady, yeah, just call me when the check comes in, have a nice day...