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:

I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at http://wyzguyscybersecurity.com

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