Senior fraud sweep leads to cases against 250-plus defendants

This map illustrates the countries affected by one of the schemes prosecuted criminally by the Consumer Protection Branch. The scheme, operated by 14 foreign countries, cost American victims more than $30 million. [Submitted graphic]

Two Valley women and their companies are among more than 250 defendants in one of the largest coordinated sweeps of senior fraud cases in history, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and law enforcement partners announced that defendants from around the world victimized more than a million Americans, most of them of senior age.

“Each year, an estimated $3 billion are stolen or defrauded from millions of American seniors,” Mr. Sessions said at the 2018 Elder Fraud Sweep Press Conference. “Through grandparent scams, fake prizes or even threats, criminals prey on some of the most vulnerable Americans to steal their hard-earned savings and their peace of mind. And this threat is only growing.”

According to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice, the cases include criminal, civil and forfeiture actions across more than 50 federal districts.

In the Valley case, 41-year-old Kimberly Stamps of Gilbert and 29-year-old Yuriko Espino Ramos of Mesa are at the head of a complaint filed that alleges the two and their companies committed mail fraud in connection with a prize-promotion scheme.

The companies include KPS Productions, LLC; KPS Promotions LLC; JJMK Enterprises, LLC; JKS Ventures, LLC; and YR Mail Services, LLC.

According to the USDOJ’s Mass Mailing Fraud Case Fact Sheet, the complaint says the defendants sent fraudulent solicitations styled as notifications saying the recipient had won a large cash prize worth between $500,000 and $2 million.

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In addition, the defendants allegedly mailed hundreds of thousands of solicitations to potential victims throughout the U.S. every year since 2012, collecting more than $3 million each year.

Not only that, but 73-year-old Barbara Trickle of Las Vegas is accused of, through her two companies, providing fraudulent bulk mail printing services to Ms. Stamps, Ms. Ramos, and their respective companies.

The complaint says Ms. Trickle’s companies printed fraudulent mailers from templates, added recipient names, filled envelopes with the mailers, and then mailed them. The complaint alleges the defendants were aware that the mailings were designed to deceive consumers into paying a fee and believing they had already won a valuable prize.

The USDOJ reports that 200 of the worldwide defendants were criminally charged for actions engaging the offender in financial schemes targeting or largely affecting seniors.

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