US man convicted of conspiracy and money laundering in Costa Rican telemarketing scheme

Statesville, USA — An Ohio man was convicted on Tuesday after a two-day jury trial in the Western District of North Carolina for his role in a Costa Rican telemarketing scheme.

Paul Ronald Toth, 40, of Wintersville, Ohio, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and six counts of international money-laundering concealment. Sentencing before US District Judge Robert Conrad will be scheduled at a later date.

According to the evidence presented at trial, Toth was involved in a telemarketing scheme in which his co-conspirators contacted US residents from call centers in Costa Rica, falsely informing them that they had won substantial cash prizes in “sweepstakes.” To claim the cash prizes, the victims – many of whom were elderly – were instructed to send a purported “refundable insurance fee.”

The trial evidence showed that, between approximately November 2009 and November 2010, Toth was a United States-based “smasher” who facilitated the laundering of funds received from the elderly victims.

Specifically, according to the evidence presented at trial, Toth and others he recruited and supervised received over $300,000 from victims and, using various individuals as senders and recipients to conceal the fraudulent nature of the transactions, wired over $200,000 of those funds to co-conspirators in Costa Rica. The evidence further demonstrated that Toth kept the remainder as his profit.

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