Individual Convicted of Conspiracy and Money Laundering for Role in Costa Rican Telemarketing Scheme
An Ohio man was convicted yesterday after a two-day jury trial in the Western District of North Carolina for his role in a Costa Rican telemarketing scheme.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose of the Western District of North Carolina made the announcement.
Paul Ronald Toth Jr., 40, of Wintersville, Ohio, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and six counts of international money-laundering concealment. Sentencing before U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad Jr. of the Western District of North Carolina will be scheduled at a later date.
According to the evidence presented at trial, Toth was involved in a telemarketing scheme in which his co-conspirators contacted U.S. residents from call centers in Costa Rica, falsely informing them that they had won substantial cash prizes in “sweepstakes.” To claim the cash prizes, the victims—many of whom were elderly—were instructed to send a purported “refundable insurance fee.”
The trial evidence showed that, between approximately November 2009 and November 2010, Toth was a United States-based “smasher” who facilitated the laundering of funds received from the elderly victims. Specifically, according to the evidence presented at trial, Toth and others he recruited and supervised received over $300,000 from victims and, using various individuals as senders and recipients to conceal the fraudulent nature of the transactions, wired over $200,000 of those funds to co-conspirators in Costa Rica. The evidence further demonstrated that Toth kept the remainder as his profit.
This case is being investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service, Federal Trade Commission and Department of Homeland Security. The case is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Patrick Donley and Trial Attorneys William Bowne and Anna Kaminska of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.