New York – The FBI, announced today that Guy Mayo, Elad Mayo, Asi Almakias, Moran Goldfarb, Lior Orgad, Orelya Belahsan, David Yamin, Mor Galanti, and Yaniv Kalbers, all residents of Israel, were arrested today on charges that the defendants engaged in a lottery telemarketing fraud scheme which obtained approximately $2 million from elderly victims in the United States between 2007 and September 2008. Shai Kadosh, who is also charged in the scheme, is presently a fugitive. This case involves the largest number of Israeli citizens ever to be provisionally arrested by Israel in anticipation of extradition.
According to the Indictments filed in this case in Manhattan federal court: The defendants participated in a fraudulent scheme in which hundreds of elderly victims in the United States were informed that they had won substantial cash prizes in an international sweepstakes lottery, but that in order to claim these prizes, they first needed to pay several thousand dollars in fees. In fact, there was no sweepstakes lottery and the victims never received any cash prize, even after many victims sent as much as tens of thousands of dollars to the defendants and their co-conspirators in Israel.
New York Field FBI Assistant Director Mark J Mershon stated: “Foreign lottery and sweepstakes frauds are especially pernicious because they target a vulnerable segment of our population. No one should underestimate the pitchmen in these schemes, who can be as persuasive as they are unethical. We only hope this investigation serves as a warning to others that operating from outside the U.S. does not necessarily make you unreachable.”
The investigation was conducted with ve work of the FBI and the Tel Aviv Fraud Division of the Israel National Police.