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Vulnerable South Carolina residents targeted in mail fraud

Advances in technology have happened at an accelerated rate and have impacted every aspect of people's lives. As a result of advances in medical treatment people are living for far longer than they once did. It has recently been alleged that a group of individuals put these two together and conspired to commit wire and mail fraud, by way of lottery scams, targeting vulnerable elderly South Carolina residents.

Ten people in all stand accused of these crimes, with all but one individual residing in South Carolina. One defendant is currently in prison, and one was arrested recently in Georgia where he was to attend a court hearing on the same day. The remaining eight were due to make their appearance before a judge in Florence, South Carolina.

As is usual with lottery scams, it is alleged that mail fraud was utilized to dupe aging citizens into believing that they had won a prize, and wire fraud was perpetrated when these victims paid fees which they were told were necessary in order for them to get their winnings. More than 200 individuals are thought to have fallen prey to the con, which was investigated in a joint operation between special agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and inspectors with the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS). Both agencies will persevere in their efforts, along with additional law enforcement departments, to combat the increasing number of crimes of this nature.

If there is truth in the estimate that this incidence of mail fraud netted its culprits over $1 million, it places an interesting perspective on how dearly it may potentially cost them in the long run. A successful prosecution of a crime like this in South Carolina could result in a punishment of up to 20 years imprisonment along with a maximum fine of $250,000 for each individual. Certainly, the people who have been accused of the crime in this instance are presumed innocent until such time as it may be proven otherwise.

Source: scnow.com, Ten people -- most residents of Little River -- charged in lottery scam, No author, Feb. 4, 2014

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