A Howard Beach man was sentenced to three years in prison on Thursday, Jan. 19, for his role in a multimillion-dollar prize notice fraud scheme.
Scott Gammon, 48, of 96th Street, was sentenced in federal court in Central Islip Thursday to 36 months’ imprisonment for participating in a mass mailing scam that tricked consumers into paying fees for falsely promised cash prizes.
As part of the sentence, Gammon was also ordered to forfeit nearly $140,000, according to U.S. Attorney Breon Peace.
From August 2014 through August 2019, Gammon engaged in a direct-mail scheme that sent fraudulent prize notifications to thousands of consumers. The mailings induced victims to pay a fee, purportedly in return for a large cash prize. None of the consumers who sent a fee ever received such a prize. Co-defendants from Long Island — Christopher King of Oceanside and Natasha Khan of Elmont — also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and are awaiting sentencing.
“Financially exploiting the elderly and other victims through fraudulent prize schemes is a form of abuse and deserving of punishment as today’s sentence demonstrates,” Peace said. “A term in prison should deter others from preying on the vulnerable.”
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) investigated the case.
“Today’s sentencing brings to a close the investigation of Mr. Gammon, who devised a fake prize promotion scheme designed to defraud older Americans and steal from those who believed they had won a prize,” USPIS Inspector-in-Charge Daniel Brubaker said. “Unfortunately, for those who participated, they realized too late that they had been swindled. When a prize didn’t materialize and their money was not returned, they became victims.”
If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been the victim of fraud, help is available at the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 833-FRAUD-11. It is a Justice Department hotline staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim and identifying the next steps.
“Postal inspectors remind consumers to be ever vigilant and play an active role in protecting their money,” Brubaker said. “If you’re asked to pay for a prize you didn’t enter to win, it’s a scam.”