LOS ANGELES (CN) – Twenty-two people in a Montreal-based telemarketing scheme defrauded old people by claiming they had won large cash prizes, but would have to pay taxes first, federal prosecutors said. The scheme was led by John Bellini, aka “Pizza Man,” who laughed about one victim, whom he said had “the worst case of Alzheimer’s I’ve ever seen in my life,” prosecutors said.
Twenty of the 22 people named in the 25-count indictment have been arrested in Canada.
The crooks even told victims they would have to pay to rent an armored car that would deliver their money to them, prosecutors said.
No one won any money, and the crooks spent all the money on themselves, the indictment states.
Bellini is accused of setting up and directing the whole operation. Five defendants allegedly operated Western Union and MoneyGram money transfer stores, where victims wired their money. If convicted, they face 20 years or more in prison.