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Bank emails, bogus lotteries: Your weekly ScamWatch

Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for.

Bank emails -- A Los Angeles man who helped operate a massive scam that used bogus bank emails to obtain customer account numbers and other personal information has been sentenced to 11 years in federal prison. Kenneth Joseph Lucas II, who pleaded guilty to 49 counts of bank and wire fraud for his role in the scheme, was sentenced June 27 at the federal courthouse in Los Angeles. Lucas worked with hackers in Egypt who sent emails that appeared to be from banks but instead led victims to websites where they were instructed to put in their account numbers and passwords.

Lottery prizes -– Six people implicated in a telemarketing scam that preyed on elderly U.S. residents have been sentenced to lengthy terms in federal prison. The defendants called victims and told them that they won substantial lottery prizes but would need to pay taxes and fees before they could receive the money. The scheme, which operated in 2007 and 2008, caused victims to lose about $2 million, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office in New York. U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan called the crime “terrible and horrifying” and said the defendants “preyed on people who, for the most part, are unable to defend themselves.”

Mining investments –- A former Nevada resident has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for stealing more than $23 million from victims through a series of companies that he said would invest in precious-metals mining throughout the world. Alberto DoCouto, a former resident of Henderson and Lake Las Vegas, persuaded victims to invest millions of dollars from 2001 to 2007. He used the money to lead a lavish lifestyle, which included the purchase of an opulent 6,000-square-foot house in Lake Las Vegas, according to Daniel G. Bogden, the U.S. attorney for Nevada.

-- Stuart Pfeifer

 
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