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Telemarketer Sentenced to 11 Years in Prison

Telemarketing call center manager Juan Luis Llamas, 33, of Yuba City, CA has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for conspiracy and wire fraud, involving a telemarketing operation based in Costa Rica.

U.S. District Court Judge Frank Whitney of the Western District of North Carolina sentenced Llamas and ordered him to pay $4.2 million in restitution, jointly with co-conspirators.

Llamas pleaded guilty, Nov. 26, 2007, to running an operation using Internet telephones, which defraud thousands of U.S. residents of millions of dollars. Most of the victims were senior citizens.

The crime involved using computers to disguise the origination of telephone calls from Latin America. Victims wired money to Costa Rica to pay purportedly “refundable insurance fees” to receive “prizes” that were never delivered.

Llama is one of 30 telemarketers sentenced to prison, so far, in connection with an international telemarketing scam. To date 33 individuals have pleaded guilty and three have been convicted by jury trials.

Telemarketing center owner Giuseppe Pileggi, 48, of Montreal, Canada, was sentenced to 50 years in prison in September.

The investigation leading to the breakup of the telemarketing ring was conducted by law enforcement authorities from the U.S. and Costa Rica, including the U.S. Postal Investigative Service, the Departments of Justice and Commerce and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security.

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