Las Vegas Resident Sentenced to Prison for Elder Fraud Scheme | OPAJanuary 14, 2021
A Las Vegas resident who participated in a fraudulent prize-notification scheme that bilked victims out of more than $9 million was sentenced today to federal prison, the Department of Justice announced.
U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro sentenced Andrea Burrow, 50, to 36 months in prison, followed by 36 months of supervised release. Judge Navarro also ordered Burrow to forfeit $272,000. Burrow pleaded guilty in August 2020 to conspiracy to commit mail fraud based on her participation in a scheme that preyed upon hundreds of thousands of victims, many of whom were elderly and vulnerable, with fraudulent prize notices. The notices led victims to believe that they could claim a large cash prize if they paid a fee of $20 to $30. This was false; victims who paid the fees did not receive anything of value.
Burrow is the first defendant to be sentenced in connection with the scheme. Three other individuals – Patti Kern, Edgar Del Rio, and Sean O’Connor – pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in 2019. Following these guilty pleas, Burrow was indicted in November 2019 along with five codefendants: Mario Castro, Jose Salud Castro, Salvador Castro, Miguel Castro, and Jose Luis Mendez. The trial of the remaining five defendants, who are presumed innocent until proven guilty, is currently scheduled for June 7, 2021.
“The Department of Justice has substantially increased its focus and resources on combating schemes that defraud American seniors, prioritizing cases like this one,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The Department of Justice takes every step possible to prosecute perpetrators of elder fraud scams so that it can deliver justice for victims.”
“Our office will continue our efforts to dismantle schemes like this one, preying on the vulnerable and elderly,” said U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich of the District of Nevada. “Whether they are operating in Nevada or elsewhere in the country, fraudsters will be apprehended and will face stiff consequences for their callous actions.”
“Criminals who target the elderly through heartless scam tactics via the U.S. Mail should know that Postal Inspectors are prepared to unravel their scheme, no matter how complex,” said Inspector in Charge Delany De Léon-Colón of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Criminal Investigations Group. “This case highlights the importance of reporting these scams to authorities, so law enforcement agents like our Postal Inspectors can have the information necessary to help bring justice to hundreds of thousands of victims through these large, successful cases.”
The scheme operated from 2010 to February 2018, when postal inspectors executed multiple search warrants and the Department of Justice obtained a court order shutting down the fraudulent mail operation. The indictment and other court filings alleged that Mario Castro, Jose Salud Castro,…