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Scammer who targeted seniors pleads guilty in federal court

The promise of a big pay day – $2.5 million and a new Mercedes Benz – proved too rich to resist.

It also proved costly for the 71-year old Western New York man who lost $130,000 trying to collect his winnings.

Corey Buddle, 25, a resident of Brooklyn and a native of Jamaica, admitted Monday to orchestrating a lottery fraud that targeted senior citizens here and across the country and falsely promised millions of dollars in prizes.

"This was a boiler room based in Jamaica that preyed on elderly victims," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott S. Allen.

Buddle, as part of his plea agreement, admitted cheating four victims out of a total of $420,099 by enticing them with a promise of millions of dollars in sweepstakes winnings.

Allen said Buddle and others involved in the conspiracy enticed their victims with fraudulent notices informing them of their prizes and directing them to "pre-pay" taxes and other fees in order to collect them.

One victim from Missouri sent Buddle $200,650 in cash, while the victim from Western New York sent him $130,000 in order to collect his cash prize and new luxury car.

"All four victims would testify that they received no money in return," Allen told the court Monday.

Buddle pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and will face a recommended sentence of up to 63 months in prison when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. He also will have to pay restitution to the victims and may face deportation back to Jamaica.

Buddle is not the only family member facing prison time in connection with the case.

Horace Buddle, his father, a resident of Jamaica, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and admitted helping his son carry out the scam.

Like many fraud cases, the Buddle prosecution is a reminder of the dangers facing consumers who fall victim to lottery frauds and send money to people they don't know.

To avoid being cheated, law enforcement agencies recommend consumers avoid unfamiliar companies and advise them to always ask for written material about the offer or prize.

Investigators also suggest consumers check out the company or charity with the Better Business Bureau, State Attorney General's office or another consumer protection agency.

And finally, if someone asks you to send money, stop and ask yourself, "What assurance do I have that my money is going for a legitimate purpose."

Buddle's conviction was the result of an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations.

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