LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Three men were found guilty of mail fraud after committing a prize-notification scheme that stole more than $10 million from elderly and vulnerable victims, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Mario Castro, 55, of Las Vegas, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Miguel Castro, 58, of Las Vegas, was sentenced to 19.5 years in prison.
Jose Luis Mendez, 49, Henderson, was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
A jury found the three men guilty of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and multiple individual counts of mail fraud.
The men operated the scheme from 2010 to 2018, according to court documents.
The men and other co-conspirators were found guilty of printing and mailing millions of fraudulent prize notices that led victims to believe that they could claim a large cash prize if they paid a fee of about $20 to $25.
When one of the victims fell for the scheme, the men were said to have bombarded the victim with more fraudulent prize notices.
The men produced the fake prize notices at a warehouse in Las Vegas and received millions of dollars from victims, according to court documents.
Postal inspectors eventually executed multiple search warrants and the Department of Justice obtained a court order which shut down the fraudulent mail operation.
The men and their co-conspirators ignored multiple cease and desist orders from the United States Postal Service. The men responded to the cease and desist orders by changing the names of their companies and using straw owners to hide their continuing fraud, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Four other people previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in connection with this prize notice scheme: Patti Kern, 65, of Henderson; Andrea Burrow, 43, of Las Vegas; Edgar Del Rio, 45, of Las Vegas; and Sean O’Connor, 54, of Las Vegas.
Those who believe they have been a victim of financial fraud can call the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-FRAUD-11.