Miami, Florida - A federal court in Florida sentenced Eugene Marotta, 49, to 46 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, for his role in a mail fraud scheme that victimized seniors and other vulnerable victims, the Department of Justice announced. The court also ordered restitution to victims. Marotta is due to surrender to authorities to begin his sentence on January 28, 2019.
The sentence imposed by United States District Judge Beth Bloom follows a guilty plea on September 24, 2018, in which Marotta admitted that he participated in a mail fraud scheme that deceived thousands of victims into sending money to claim a falsely promised $350,000 prize. The mailings sent to victims purportedly were from a business called Art Masters LLC, d/b/a Palm Beach Liquidation Gallery (PBLG). Marotta was the registrant of PBLG, a shell company, and was responsible for receiving payments from victims and handling other administrative responsibilities for the scheme. In his plea, Marotta admitted that victims had in fact won no prizes and never received anything for their submitted money. The scheme caused more than $1,000,000 in victim losses. At sentencing, Judge Bloom noted that Marotta and his co-conspirators targeted the elderly and vulnerable.
“The Department of Justice will pursue those who defraud Americans through false promises and fraudulent schemes,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt for the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “Schemes like this often target the elderly and vulnerable, and shutting them down remains a top priority for the Department.”
“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service has been at the forefront of protecting consumers from fraud schemes for many years,” said Criminal Investigations Group Inspector in Charge Delany De Leon-Colon. “Deceptive solicitations take advantage of the American public with promises of large prizes, when in reality, the scammers are the only ones winning. Investigations like this one let the American public know that Postal Inspectors are working hard to protect them and ensure their confidence in the U.S. Mail.”
Since President Trump signed the bipartisan Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act (EAPPA) into law, The Department of Justice has participated in hundreds of enforcement actions in criminal and civil cases that targeted or disproportionately affected seniors. In particular, this past February the Department announced the largest elder fraud enforcement action in American history, charging more than 200 defendants in a nationwide elder fraud sweep. The Department has likewise conducted hundreds of trainings and outreach sessions across the country since the passage of the Act.
Trial Attorney Ehren Reynolds of the department’s Consumer Protection Branch prosecuted this case. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the case.