New York - A New York resident pleaded guilty Wednesday in the Eastern District of New York to participating in a fraudulent multimillion-dollar mass-mailing scheme that tricked consumers into paying fees for falsely promised cash prizes.

According to court documents, from August 2014 through August 2019, Scott Gammon, 47, of Broad Channel, New York, engaged in a direct-mail scheme that sent fraudulent prize notification mailings to thousands of consumers. The mailings induced consumers to pay a fee, purportedly in return for a large cash prize. None of the consumers who sent a fee ever received such a prize. Gammon is the third defendant to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in connection with this scheme. 

“Fraudulent prize notices often cause victims, including the elderly, to send money based on false promises of large cash prizes,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “This guilty plea is the latest example of the Department of Justice continuing to pursue and prosecute the perpetrators of these schemes.”

“The defendant admitted he deceived elderly and vulnerable victims into believing they had won cash prizes by inducing them to pay bogus ‘fees’ to him and his co-conspirators,” stated U.S. Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York. “This office will continue to protect our seniors and other consumers from harm caused by predatory solicitation schemes.”

“Postal Inspectors remind consumers, if you have to pay to win a prize, you’ll lose your money,” said Inspector in Charge Daniel B. Brubaker of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. “These are all scams designed to lure consumers into sending their hard-earned money — not for a prize, but to fatten the pockets of a fraudster. Mr. Gammon may have thought he got away with this scheme, but he was sadly mistaken when he was confronted by the full investigative power of law enforcement.”

Two other defendants previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud for participating in the scheme. Christopher King, 36, of Oceanside, New York, pleaded guilty on Sept. 15, 2021. Natasha Khan, 38, of Elmont, New York, pleaded guilty on Dec. 15, 2021.

Gammon’s plea took place before Magistrate Judge Steven I. Locke. Gammon is scheduled to be sentenced at a later date. Each of the three defendants faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the case.