More than 565 people on three continents were arrested as part of "Operation Global Con" -- an operation the Department of Justice called the largest operation ever directed at mass-marketing fraud schemes.
The operation, which began in March 2005, resulted in the arrest of 139 individuals in the United States, and an additional 426 arrests in Canada, Costa Rica, the Netherlands and Spain. More than 60 individuals have been convicted in the United States already.
The variety of schemes uncovered during the operation included tax fraud schemes; foreign currency trading; bogus lottery, prize and sweepstakes schemes; offers of nonexistent investments; and bogus offers of "pre-approved" credit cards or credit-card protection.
The 96 separate U.S. investigations in this operation led to the discovery of more than 2.8 million victims, who suffered losses totaling more than $1 billion.
"The best defense against these types of scams is public awareness," said assistant secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Julie Myers, in a statement. "I would also add that if a sales pitch over the phone sounds too good to be true, it probably is."The operation involved coordination among 30 U.S. Attorneys' offices nationwide, as well as the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division and the Tax Division of the Department of Justice, among others.
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