New York Businessman Charged in Telemarketing-Related Fraud and Identity Theft Scheme

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A New York businessman was arrested today for overseeing a scheme to forge hundreds of thousands of counterfeit documents containing improperly obtained personal information, which he allegedly sold to his clients, who then allegedly provided this information to telemarketers.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Rohde of the Eastern District of New York, Special Agent in Charge Richard T. Thornton of the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office, Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs of the FBI’s San Antonio Field Office and FBI Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr. of the New York Field Office made the announcement.

William Patrick Nanry, 55, of Pearl River, New York, was charged on Tuesday, October 3, in an indictment filed in the Eastern District of New York with one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, one count of mail fraud, one count of identity theft and one count of aggravated identity theft. 

According to the indictment, Nanry operated a business selling “sweepstakes leads,” which are documents listing the phone numbers and personal information of individuals who have responded to mass mailings notifying recipients that they may have won, or were likely 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 questionable pitches. 

The indictment alleges that beginning in approximately 2009, Nanry acquired lists of names and contact information for hundreds of thousands of people—primarily senior citizens— and used this information to create fake sweepstakes leads, which he then sold to his clients as authentic.  The indictment further alleges that Nanry directed a team of employees and associates to write the personal information of the victims onto the counterfeit sweepstakes forms, even though the victims had not agreed to this use, and even though many of the victims had never responded to a sweepstakes mailing.  Nanry allegedly directed these employees and associates to vary their handwriting, to use a large number of pens in varying colors, and to take other actions to make the fake leads appear authentic.  According to the indictment, the counterfeit sweepstakes leads were then sold to Nanry’s clients, who provided them to telemarketers, who then contacted the people named in the leads.  Many of these fake sweepstakes leads allegedly ended up in the hands of telemarketers who attempted to defraud the victims.  Some of the individuals who had their information misused by Nanry were ultimately defrauded by scam telemarketers. 

Over the duration of the scheme, Nanry earned over $1.7 million by selling fake sweepstakes leads to his clients, the indictment alleges. 

An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The FBI is investigating this matter.  Timothy A. Duree and Tracee Plowell of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case

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