October 26, 2012
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster said today he has charged a Florida man with numerous felony charges related to a recent sweepstakes scam targeting elderly Missouri residents. Koster charged Patrick Percival Wilson in Perry County with four felony counts of financial exploitation of the elderly, stealing by deceit, and unlawful merchandising practices.
According to Koster, Wilson represented to elderly Missouri residents that they had won large cash prizes but needed to pay certain taxes or fees before they could claim the prizes.
Koster alleges that Wilson sent letters purporting to be from “The Federal Reserve Board, Internal Revenue Service” and signed by “John McCain, IRS,” stating that a Perry County couple had won ten million dollars from the Mega Millions Sweepstakes Company but needed to prepay for “insurance coverage, registration fee, and auxiliary charges” before they received their money. Other mail solicitations, purportedly from the “Contest Department and Treasury Department” and “NBC,” confirmed the victims’ winnings and asked for the funds to be wired to Wilson and others. Wilson’s victims paid approximately $250,000 in money transfers and payments to various individuals, including nearly $65,000 directly to Wilson. Wilson was arrested in Orlando, Florida, Thursday night, and will be extradited to Missouri.
“We will not stand for unscrupulous people preying on elderly Missourians and stealing their money,” Koster said. “We will continue to do all we can to track down and arrest those who perpetrate these scams.”
Koster reminded Missourians to be wary of any unsolicited mail or phone calls, and never to send money to people you do not know or do not already do business with. If there is ever any doubt as to the legitimacy of an offer, Missourians should call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-392-8222 for advice.