LI trio charged in $30M bogus prize scam
Three people from Long Island are accused of running a scam that stole more than $30 million from victims across the country.
Prosecutors say Tully Lovisa, a 55-year-old from Huntington Station, Shaun Sullivan, a 37-year-old Merrick man, and Lorraine Chalavoutis, a 61-year-old Greenlawn woman, used shell companies to mail letters to hundreds of thousands of people, misleading recipients to think they’d won a prize.
The victims, mostly senior citizens, were told they had to pay a processing fee of $20 to $25 to claim the prize, which did not exist.
«This case clearly involves a massive fraud on vulnerable victims,» said Kathleen Tomlinson, the federal judge overseeing the case.
The three suspects face charges of mail fraud and money laundering and could spend up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
None of them or their relatives spoke with reporters after their arraignments.
Sullivan and Chalavoutis were released on bail.
Lovisa could not make his $5 million bail and remains in custody. In 2010, the Federal Trade Commission sued him for another scheme, and he was prohibited by a court order from dealing in prize motion mailings.
He is expected to make bail Thursday. But he will not be allowed to leave his home, work, or use a computer or any phones with internet access. And he’ll be electronically monitored 24/7.