- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 23, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - A federal judge in Chicago has sentenced a Canadian man to seven years in prison for swindling elderly U.S. victims in an $8 million telemarketing scheme that operated from the Philippines.

Federal prosecutors announced the sentence Monday. U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin said during a sentencing hearing Friday that 56-year-old Austin Etches “was up to his eyeballs” in the ruse. Etches was ordered to pay approximately $8 million in restitution.

He pleaded guilty to mail fraud in June and cooperated with the investigation. Charges are pending against two other people who are believed to be outside the United States.

Prosecutors say many of the victims were widows and retirees. The scheme involved selling phony certificates of deposit and real estate that didn’t exist.



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