A South Los Angeles man is expected to plead guilty Monday to federal fraud charges for operating a lottery scam that targeted senior citizens with promises of cash prizes and cars — as long as they paid taxes and fees.
Carl Dean Bullock, 65, will enter his plea to mail and wire fraud charges before U.S. District Judge George H. Wu, who will set a sentencing date. As part of his plea deal, Bullock will pay at least $45,700 in restitution to his victims, court papers show.
Bullock was indicted last June by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles on 13 counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft.
Bullock would tell mostly elderly victims that they had won large lottery or sweepstakes prizes and, in order to obtain their “winnings,” would need to send money to pay for taxes, fees and other expenses, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Hoping to collect the winnings, victims sent money via wire transfer, money orders and cash, prosecutors said.
Bullock received at least some of the fraudulently obtained money, and then sent a portion of it to his co-schemers, most of whom were in Jamaica, the indictment alleges. The investigation uncovered 25 victims — one of whom was 88 years old — who sent nearly $200,000 to obtain their non-existent prizes, according to court papers.
“Foreign lottery and sweepstakes fraud cost Americans millions (of dollars) every year,” Los Angeles Postal Inspector in Charge Robert Wemyss said previously. “When one family member is harmed, the impact can be felt by all. Losses can be monumental, and entire fortunes, inheritances and retirement security can be wiped out.”
The fraud charges each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, prosecutors noted.