- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) - A 47-year-old Rochester man has pleaded guilty to participating in a fake sweepstakes scam that bilked hundreds of thousands of dollars from elderly victims.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday that Charles Hanks has pleaded guilty to mail fraud before a federal judge in Rochester.

Prosecutors say Hanks, Ricky Miller and a Jamaican group operated a fraudulent sweepstakes telemarketing scheme that involved calling elderly people and telling them that they had won a sweepstakes prize or lottery. The individuals were then asked to pay an upfront fee in order to release the winnings.

Officials say Hanks and Miller received about $300,000 from the victims and sent it to Jamaica after taking a cut.

Miller was convicted and is awaiting sentencing.

Hanks faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he’s sentenced Jan. 5.

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