RI woman faces fraud charges for $10M sweepstakes scheme

RI woman faces fraud charges for $10M sweepstakes scheme


PROVIDENCE, RI. (WPRI) — A Warwick woman was indicted by a federal grand jury on fraud charges Tuesday for allegedly scamming individuals out of a total of $10 million through mail sweepstakes schemes.

A Priority Mail package is seen at a USPS facility in La Vergne, Tennessee, on Nov. 4, 2021. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

ORIGINAL NOTE: https://www.wpri.com/news/local-news/providence/ri-woman-faces-fraud-charges-for-10m-sweepstakes-scheme/

Megan E. Shine, 47, is accused of creating false businesses and sending advertisements through the mail that implied recipients were entitled to prizes, specifically targeting elderly and other vulnerable individuals.

Victims were deceived into sending payments typically between $20 and $30. Many said they were contacted multiple times and sent multiple payments.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the advertisements reportedly claimed the recipient had been selected to win a large sum of money or a valuable item. They often included the person’s name, instructions to send money with a deadline, and a P.O. Box in Providence for processing and handling. The mail was printed on “official-looking paper” and was marked with codes and phrases like ” authorized document” to appear legitimate.

Shine allegedly ran the scheme out of Rhode Island through businesses she created including Lucky Dog, LLC, d/b/a Premium Ops & Incentives, and Destiny Merchandise, LLC, d/b/a Independent Catalog Services, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Apart from the names and addresses, all of the mailings were reportedly identical.

Although the forms indicated the recipients were winners of money or rewards, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said none of the victims ever received prizes. Additionally, nothing was done to verify that they were eligible for such prizes.

Investigations revealed that these transactions occurred in 41 states, with an estimated 50,000 responses to the mailings per year.

Shine was charged with four counts of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. She was arraigned and released on unsecured bond.