FBI: Lottery Scammer Pleads Guilty

Back in December we wrote about FBI Operation Hard Copy in order to warn our readers about telemarketing lottery scams and how they work.  Recently, the FBI reported that one of the people arrested in that operation had plead guilty to one count of wire fraud.

According to the FBI:

Ronald John Mendleski, 72, of Bokeelia, Florida, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud before U. S. Magistrate Judge Carol Mirando of the Middle District of Florida. Sentencing will be set at a later date.

As part of the plea, Mendleski admitted that for several years he operated an enterprise that provided telemarketers with information called “sweepstakes leads,” which are the phone numbers and personal information of individuals who have responded to mass mailings notifying recipients that they have purportedly won, or are about to win, expensive prizes and enormous cash payouts. Such information is highly valued by fraudulent telemarketers, who seek to identify individuals who may be susceptible to falling for fraudulent scams. Mendleski admitted that he sold this information to scammers, knowing that they intended to use the information to engage in fraud. This scheme generated over $1.5 million for Mendleski, he admitted.

If you get notice in the mail or by telephone of winning a sweepstakes or lottery, be aware that it is likely that you good fortune is really part of a scam designed to separate you from your money.


About the Author:

Cybersecurity guru to business owners in the St Paul, Minneapolis, and western Wisconsin area. Computer security and hacking have been a passion of mine since I entered the computer and networking business in 2000. In 2013 I completed a course of study and certification exam to become a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). In 2016 I was certified as a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). As Cybersecurity Analyst at The WyzCo Group, I help our clients experience high levels of computer security, network security, and web site security. In addition to consulting on security products and services, we also conduct security audits, vulnerability assessments and full penetration tests. We also provide Cybersecurity Awareness Training for clients and their employees. We also work with companies and organizations that need to certify compliance with regulations such as PCI-DSS (credit card processing), HIPAA/HITECH (medical records), and GLBA. The views expressed on this Web site are mine alone and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer.

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