A Judge in New York Jailed two Israelis on Monday, July 14, for their part in an international lottery scam that succeeded in swindling over $8 million from elderly US citizens.
Avi Ayache and Yaron Bar headed a team of 12 scammers, based in Israel, who tricked Americans out of their life savings and filtered the funds into bank accounts in Israel, Cyprus, and Uganda.
Judge Loretta Preska sentenced Bar to 12 years in prison and awarded a 13 year sentence to Ayache after they pleaded guilty to their part in the four year mail and wire fraud.
Federal prosecutor Preet Bharara described the gang as a "predatory group" and said Ayache and Bar had been 'preying on their victims' dreams of financial comfort' to trick them out of their savings.
"Now Ayache and Bar will spend a substantial portion of their lives in prison," Bhara said.
Between 2005 and 2009 the two men made numerous calls to US citizens, reading them a script of lies and promising large cash prizes.
The victims were then informed they would need to pay thousands, tens of thousands, and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover fees before the funds could be released.
The elaborate con was backed-up by gift baskets and bunches of flowers sent to congratulate the victims on their lucky wins and encourage them into parting with further amounts of money.
The gang was extradited to the United States in 2009.
Seven other gang members have already received lesser terms. Three more will be sentenced in the coming weeks.