Local News

Pair get prison time for sweepstakes scam

Posted March 16, 2012

— Two men were sentenced Thursday to federal prison for a scheme in which they scammed dozens of elderly people out of at least $840,000, authorities said.

Clayton Atkinson, 33, and David Stewart, 62, pleaded guilty last year to wire fraud. Atkinson was sentenced to 12½ years in prison, while Stewart received a 6½-year sentence.

From December 2004 to April 2007, the men ran an operation near Montreal in which they called elderly residents across the U.S., told them they had won a large prize in a sweepstakes or lottery and convinced them to send money in order to receive their prize.

The investigation determined that at least 39 victims in various states, including North Carolina, had been defrauded, authorities said. Atkinson and Stewart were ordered to pay $840,705 in restitution to the victims.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • STRAWBERRY LETTER 23 Mar 16, 2012

    Hi sunshine1040,

    With all due respect, it isn't necessarily the children's money these older folks are sending in. The reason could be two fold: One, not all elderly people have kids and two, not every parent is leaving their monies to their children. Inheritance is not a guarantee and not a right. It's a choice. Just my opinion. :-)


  • sunshine1040 Mar 16, 2012

    Chidren keep an eye on your parents it is your money they are sending to these scam artist. Visit them and talk to them and if they cannot manage their money then help them out.and remind them of what they taught you if it is too good to be true it is and you do not need to pay tax in advance on a lottery

  • beachboater Mar 16, 2012

    Put them in a small fenced area and tie them up. Then grandma and grandpa a good switch to work on those boys for about an hour before they go to the big house. I think that would be fair. If these guys had gotten a good switching on their legs, they probably wouldn't be stealing.

    They deserve anything they get.

  • friskymonkey2 Mar 16, 2012

    Seriously, put them to death over stealing money? What if they bludgeoned them to death and didn't steal a dime? Would you suggest the same death sentence or just a long stretch in prison? I think more education of our elderly citizens as to the scams they can be susceptable to. Also, a bit of education in humility would be called for as well since most of them wont tell their children that they could have been possibly scammed or about to be. Old people are pig headed and do not want their children or grand children to know they sent their life savings to the Prince or Princess of Nigeria or if someone has stolen a large sum of money from them (as has been our case with my Father in Law). Senior citizens want to maintain a front of independence due to the fear of being thrown in a rest home if they get taken advantage of. Talk with your parents daily and they wont get ripped off by the degenerates that prey on them.

  • whatelseisnew Mar 16, 2012

    Prison is too good for these guys. Bring back old sparky and strap em in.

  • STRAWBERRY LETTER 23 Mar 16, 2012

    That's horrible. To do this to anybody is wrong, but the eldery, (to me) makes it even worse. There are some elderly people who have next to nothing saved. While many do, those that do not, are usually the ones who lose the most, or I should say, the least! So sad.

    I think there should be special consideration given, when determining the punishment for these two sorry individuals. Give them life, period!!!!!


  • lec02572 Mar 16, 2012

    Should have been life in prison, because they probably took the money from the elderly that was to last their remaining years.