DEL RIO (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — A federal judge in South Texas has sentenced three men to prison and ordered repayment of more than $4.2 million in an investment scam targeting nonprofit groups.

Prosecutors on Friday announced the penalties in the scheme operating from 2010 to 2017 in which nonprofits were promised large-scale financing in exchange for upfront payments.

Records show 51-year-old Kelly Ray Coronado of Del Rio pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and was sentenced Wednesday to 51 months in prison. Co-defendant 59-year-old James Edward Cox of Waxhaw, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to the same count and must serve 6½ years in prison.

A third man, 55-year-old Gordon Richard Moskowitz of Sarasota, Florida, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and was sentenced to nearly four years in prison.

Scamming volunteer organization and profiting of those in-need is nothing new.

The Office of the Texas Attorney General said it received nearly 3,000 complaints in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Reports of fraud include price gouging, fake GoFundMe pages, fraudulent Facebook posts, made-up FEMA employment offers and imposters. Investigators say beware of crooks impersonating government and insurance agents.

“There’s no shortage of criminals, ” said Federal Trade Commission Assistant Regional Director Jim Elliott.

In one of the latest attempts, according to Elliot, con artists targeted Texas hunters. The thieves even impersonated the National Rifle Association and solicited funds.

⇓Links To Report Scams And Consumer Issues⇓

Texas Attorney General Resources
Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Toll-Free Hotline
Call: 1-800-621-0508
Email: consumeremergency@oag.texas.gov

Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)/Federal Bureau of Investigation

The Federal Trade Commission

Better Business Bureau

Report Identity Theft Issues 

 

⇓Help Spotting Illegal Activity⇓

Hurricane Harvey Rumor Control/FEMA.gov

Potential Hurricane Harvey Phishing Scams/US-Computer Emergencies Readiness Team

Tips to Avoid Fraud in Aftermath of Disaster/Texas Attorney General

Advice for Helping Victims/Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Be Cautious of Charity Scams/FTC

Signs of a Charity Scam/FTC

 

⇓Look Up A Charity Before Donating⇓

Hurricane Harvey/Charity Navigator

BBB Wise Giving Alliance

Harvey Relief/Charity Watch

GuideStar Nonprofit Reports