CT man sentenced to 3 years in prison for role in $5M romance, lottery scams

Connecticut federal court
Connecticut federal court Photo credit Google Street View

NEW HAVEN, CT (1010 WINS) — A Connecticut man was sentenced to three years in prison Tuesday for his role in multiple lottery and romance schemes to defraud hundreds of mostly elderly people out of millions of dollars, officials said.

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The New Haven fraudster, 32-year-old Ralph Pierre, is one of three men involved in the elaborate schemes to falsely claim people were lottery winners or romance them to swindle them out of money, court documents show.

Pierre and his co-conspirators, Farouq Fasasi and Rodney Thomas, Jr., ran the scams for about five years from 2015 to 2020. The trio lived together in New Haven where they collected the money and gifts sent to them through their false claims.

One of the ways the men defrauded people was by notifying them that they one the lottery but they had to pay taxes, shipping and processing in order to get their prize. The victims would send money but their winnings never came.

The other scam the men pulled were romance schemes–creating fake online profiles and life stories, sometimes filled with heartbreaking false life stories to create trust, in order to take advantage of the unsuspecting victims by asking for money and gifts.

Pierre even created a fake charity called “Global Protection Foundation” to help launder the money they were receiving from more than 200 victims across the country. Pierre opened four bank accounts in the fake charity’s name where more than $200,000 were deposited and withdrawn as well as from Pierre’s personal bank account in the span of just four months.

In total, the men stole more than $5 million from the victims, many of them elderly and vulnerable, with some losing their life savings. One Connecticut victim lost more than $1 million.

The three schemers were found guilty of multiple charges on Feb. 15. Pierre specifically was convicted of money laundering charges.

Along with three years in prison, Pierre was given three years of supervised release. He is currently out on a $100,000 bond and ordered to return to prison on August 31.