Second Defendant Pleads Guilty to Scamming the Elderly

Shaun Sullivan of Merrick, New York has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in a multimillion dollar prize promotion scam aimed at stealing money from the elderly and vulnerable groups. Sullivan sent mailings to individuals which indicated that they could claim a large cash prize in exchange for a modest fee. There was no prize, and yet victims submitted over $30 million in fees.

According to the Department of Justice (DOJ) release, Sullivan worked with others in New York to operate the mailing scheme. This action was in violation of preexisting court orders against Sullivan resulting from a lawsuit against him by the Federal Trade Commission.

“Sullivan preyed on consumers, many of them vulnerable and elderly, by sending fraudulent mailings designed to trick them into believing they had won a cash prize; he then lined his own pockets with the fees he extracted from the victims,” stated Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “Protecting the community from mass mailing fraud schemes remains a priority of this Office and the Department of Justice.”

The DOJ has placed particular focus on financial schemes aimed at the elderly since the passage of the bipartisan Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act (EAPPA).

As a result of this law, the DOJ has conducted hundreds of trainings and outreach sessions across the country with communities and law enforcement to enforce the act. These efforts led to the largest elder fraud enforcement action in American history in February in which over 200 defendants were charged in a nationwide elder fraud sweep.

The US Postal Service has also been heavily involved in intercepting and investigating mail fraud schemes often aimed at the elderly and vulnerable.

Sullivan’s associate Tully Lovisa plead guilty to similar charges in October 2018.

Sullivan faces up to 20 years in prison, forfeiture, and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss from his offense during sentencing.

Inspector in Charge Philip R. Bartlett of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service noted, “Today’s plea is an example of the coordinated efforts of law enforcement to protect the vulnerable and older Americans, who were specifically targeted to receive bogus solicitations to lure the unsuspecting ‘prize winner’ to send money that was subsequently used for Mr. Sullivan and his co-conspirators own enrichment.”

Posted in The Takedown

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