A Canadian man was convicted last week of running a “decades-long mass-mailing fraud scheme that stole more than $175 million from victims in the United States,” many of them “elderly and vulnerable,” according to the Justice Department.
Patrice Runner, 57, was found guilty of 14 charges and now faces up to 280 years in federal prison for his scheme, which ran from 1994 to 2014 and centered around the mailing of approximately 56 million letters purporting to be from European psychics. The handwritten letters “promised that the recipient had the opportunity to achieve great wealth and happiness with the psychic’s assistance, in exchange for payment of a fee,” according to a Justice Department release. After the U.S. Postal Inspection Service opened an investigation into the matter, Runner was extradited from Spain to the United States in Dec. 2020. But by then, more than a million people had sent money to him and his co-conspirators, including four other people who have already pleaded guilty in connection to the case. Read more.