A Las Vegas man was sentenced Tuesday to 7 years and 4 months months in prison for targeting the elderly as part of a telemarketing scam that resulted in the loss of nearly $1.2 million.
Willie James Montgomery, 43, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire or mail fraud before U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan on Oct. 25, 2016.
According to the plea agreement, from Nov. 24, 2008 to Sept. 5, 2013, Montgomery admitted that he conspired with others to obtain “lead sheets.” A lead sheet identifies persons who had previously entered sweepstakes, lotteries or other prize-drawing contests, and thus were susceptible to misrepresentations regarding potentially winning a prize, sweepstakes, or lottery.
Montgomery and others falsely portrayed themselves as being an official of a lottery or sweepstakes committee or an official of the IRS and told the victims that they had won a prize or lottery, and, in order to receive the prize, they must first send payments in the form of checks, money orders, wire transfers or cash. Montgomery knew that the victims had not won a prize or lottery and instead kept these advance payments for his own purposes.
In order to conceal the scheme, Montgomery and others would direct the victims to send the money to individuals referred to as “runners,” i.e., people who would receive the money wires, cash, checks or money orders and then provide the criminal proceeds to Montgomery and his other co-conspirators. Montgomery further admitted that he and his co-conspirators made calls to at least 66 victims in at least 22 states.
Through this scheme, he and his co-conspirators were able to obtain at least 56 MoneyGram wire transfers, totaling approximately $96,983, and 181 Western Union money wires, totaling at least $366,238. In total, the scheme caused losses to victims in the amount of approximately $1.2 million.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and the United States Postal Inspection Service.