LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The final three suspects in a multi-million dollar prize scheme were convicted by a federal jury Tuesday on several counts of mail fraud and conspiracy for creating fraudulent prize notices from their Las Vegas printing business.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the men stole more than $6 million from victims who were notified they won a prize but had to pay a fee of $20 to $30 to claim it. The victims, mostly retirees, and older adults, never received anything.
Mario Castro, 55, and Miguel Castro, 58, of Las Vegas, and Jose Luis Mendez, 49, of Henderson, produced the fraudulent prize notices at their business in Las Vegas. The defendants were partners with companies that mass-mailed the fraudulent notices. Federal investigators found the money that came from the victims was used to print and mail more notices and then shared between the defendants. The scheme ran from 2010 to 2018.
One suspect, Salvador Castro, was acquitted of all charges by the jury. Four other people involved previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in connection with the prize notice scheme: Patti Kern, 65, of Henderson, Nevada; Andrea Burrow, 43, of Las Vegas; Edgar Del Rio, 45, of Las Vegas; and Sean O’Connor, 54, of Las Vegas
“Vulnerable and older Americans have been victimized for far too long by individuals who hide in the shadows to commit their crimes,” said Inspector in Charge Eric Shen of U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s (USPIS) Criminal Investigations Group. “This verdict unmasks these criminals and holds them to account for their conduct.
The three defendants will be sentenced Aug. 23, 2023, and face a maximum on each count of mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.