A Deer Park company was accused of helping con thousands of victims nationwide out of millions of dollars by mass-mailing letters written by famous psychics promising financial gain if recipients pay up.
The U.S. Attorney’s office filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Central Islip federal court against Metro Data Management Inc., doing business as Data Marketing Group Ltd., and four other companies that allegedly preyed on elderly, ill and destitute victims. Federal authorities are seeking an injunction to immediately stop the mailings that promise good fortune—even lottery winnings.
“The companies and individuals made blatant misrepresentations in order to reap financial gain,” Joyce Branda, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said in a statement.
The other companies named in the suit include Nevada-based Destiny Research Center, Canadian company Infogest Direct Marketing and two New York companies: CLGE Inc. and I.D.
The suit alleged that the companies sent victims mass-produced letters that appeared to be personalized handwritten messages from world-renowned psychics such as Maria Duval, Patrick Guerin, David Phild, Sandra Rochefort, Antonia Donera and Nicholas Chakan.
Victims mailed back $20 to $50 each—and sometimes wrote back letters that were never read—in response to the mailings, according to investigators. In return, the victims were sent what authorities described as worthless, mass-produced trinkets and further solicitations for money.
Keitha Rocco, owner of the Long Island company that authorities said was involved in the alleged scheme, provided a service is known as caging—maintaining a database of addresses, tracking responses and processing payments totaling as much as $500,000 in a given two-week period, according to the suit.
Attorney information for the defendants named in the suit was not immediately available.
Troy Raper, Acting Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Criminal Investigation Group, said: “These mass solicitations containing purportedly personalized messages to unsuspecting victims were blatant fraud.”