Throughout the United States, consumers are sent emails and postal mailings telling them of great winnings to be had in foreign lotteries. The problem is, federal law prohibits the cross-border sale or purchase of lottery tickets. Buyers and sellers could be charged with a crime, and the offense could carry a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison upon conviction. Those perpetrating foreign lottery scams for purposes of obtaining bank information or enticing “winners” to send checks can also face myriad other charges for serious federal offenses.
Bukh Law Firm, PLLC knows that federal authorities aggressively prosecute foreign lottery fraud, and individuals both inside and outside of the United States can be charged. In countries with extradition treaties, defendants could be forced to come to the United States to stand trial, even if they live elsewhere. For other defendants in countries that don’t cooperate with U.S. authorities, there is the very real risk of arrest and prosecution when traveling.
Our legal team will help you to fight charges and develop effective legal strategies to avoid conviction or minimize consequences. When you need a NY criminal defense lawyer who has had success in defending clients in foreign lottery fraud cases, turn to us for help.
What is Foreign Lottery Fraud?
Foreign lottery fraud generally involves sending messages or making contact via email, telephone, text message, or postal mail. Those perpetrating the scam inform the recipients of the letter, mail, or phone communications that they have already won money (or a free prize) or that they have the potential to win a free prize.
Of course, no prize exists. Instead, the goal of those operating the foreign lottery or sweepstakes scam is generally to do one of the following:
- Convince the “winners” to provide financial account numbers and/or personal information, which can be used for identity theft or fraudulent transactions.
- Entice winners to deposit a check with their winnings (which is fraudulent) and then wire a part of the money that was deposited. The “winner” does not find out the check was a fraud until after money has already been wired and is no longer recoverable.
- Convince winners to send money to cover “duties and taxes” in order to collect the prize.
Sometimes, foreign lottery fraud involves telling those being scammed that a foreigner has won a lottery prize, which cannot be claimed because the “winner” is not a U.S. citizen. The person being scammed is told he can cash in the prize and keep some of the money as long as he sends on the rest. Of course, the initial check with the prize money is fraudulent, and the scam victim has already sent funds that must be repaid. Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC TOP RATED ON:
SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
Top Rated Criminal Lawyer
Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC
TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
What are the Penalties for Foreign Lottery Fraud?
18 U.S. Code Section Section 1953 is a federal law that specifically deals with interstate and foreign wagering. This statute prohibits the sale of lottery tickets and other sweepstakes or raffle entries across international borders. Penalties for a violation of this particular federal law could include a maximum of five years imprisonment, as well as a fine.
Involvement with foreign lottery fraud or foreign sweepstakes scams may also be a violation of myriad other federal laws including bank fraud, postal fraud, and wire fraud laws. When the purpose of the scam is identity theft and/or when a computer is used to perpetrate the scam, there may be separate criminal charges for these offenses as well. Defendants can be charged on multiple counts, and the consequences of any one federal offense could be decades in prison if convicted.
How a NY Criminal Defense Lawyer Helps Defendants Accused of Operating a Foreign lottery fraud
As a top NY criminal defense law firm that represents clients from all over the world, Bukh Law Firm, PLLC is uniquely qualified to provide legal advice and assistance to defendants accused of any type of involvement with foreign sweepstakes fraud or foreign lottery scams.
Our defense team will help foreigners or U.S. citizens accused of wrongdoing to fight the charges, to ensure they are innocent until proven guilty, and to do everything possible to walk away from charges with no consequences or minimal penalties. To learn more about how an attorney can help you develop the appropriate legal strategy for responding to state or federal charges, call today.