Chelsea IrizarryJul 11, 2018, 11:25 pm

3 plead not guilty to $30M mass-mailing scheme that targeted elderly

Victims were promised large sums of money for a relatively small fee


CENTRAL ISLIP — Three Long Islanders are facing federal charges in connection to a mass-mailing scheme that tricked elderly and vulnerable consumers. The scheme netted $30 million in fees for falsely promised cash prizes.

Lorraine Chalavoutis walked out of the courtroom with her lawyer, Kevin Kearon, on Wednesday after she pleaded not guilty to all charges. The 61-year-old is one of three facing a slew of federal charges.

Federal officials say Chalavoutis of Greenlawn, 55-year-old Tully Lovisa of Huntington Station, and 37-year-old Shaun Sullivan of Merrick misled victims to believe they would receive a large sum of money if they paid a relatively small fee. Victims never received large sums of money. The direct-mail operation started in 2010.

The 12-count indictment was unsealed in federal court, charging all three with mail fraud and money laundering, all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In response, Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a statement, saying in part: "We will hold perpetrators of elder fraud schemes accountable wherever they are. Today's indictment shows we are following through on this promise, and fraudsters everywhere should take note of it."

Lovisa also faces a perjury charge, a wire fraud charge, and another money laundering count. Federal officials say the 55-year-old has had prior run-ins with the law, including being sued by the Federal Trade Commission for sending deceptive prize promotion mailings, and a fraudulent house sale scheme. The 55-year-old is being held in custody until two out-of-state family members sign his bond package, some forfeiting their homes to make the $5 million bail. Chalavoutis faced a $250,000 bond, secured by her son’s residence. Sullivan was also released on a half million dollar bail package paid for with the equity of houses.

All three lawyers say they look forward to their day in court to address the allegations.

The next scheduled court date is August 8.

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