Conti, who purported to be a government official, offered to fly the 87-year-old man to
She bought him a ticket and told him she was going to put him up at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in
But what Conti didn't know was that the FBI was on to the scam and had been working with the man for months. When her phone rang as she stood in the baggage claim area, an FBI agent called out, "Lisa." She turned to look and the agent arrested her.
Conti, whose real name is Corrine Dziesiuta, was charged Wednesday in a criminal complaint unsealed in
Dziesiuta, 38, appeared in federal court Thursday in
According to the nine-page complaint, the man, identified only as Victim A, was first contacted by Dziesiuta in 2010 and told he'd won millions in prize money but needed to pay "various insurance, taxes and other fees to various entities" because it was located in a foreign country.
To keep the scam going, Dziesiuta sent a letter to the man in
The charges do not elaborate when or how the FBI became aware of the scam. But between May and late September, agents recorded 27 phone calls between the man and Dziesiuta, including one in which the man was instructed to tell her his bank would no longer allow him to wire funds, according to the complaint.
After Dziesiuta tried to persuade Victim A to switch banks or go through an attorney to send the money, the man -- at the direction of agents -- told her he was only willing to give her money in person. In August, Dziesiuta told the man she was going to travel to
Later that month, the man received a letter sent from
Public records show Dziesiuta previously lived in
After her arrest, Dziesiuta told agents she became involved with organizers of the fraud after moving to
She began as an "opener," cold-calling potential victims who had been previously mailed a claim that they'd won a sweepstakes of some kind. As she gained experience, her role shifted to making "comfort" calls to victims who had been badgered for money, trying to "smooth things over" so they would stay on the hook and send more money.
When shown some of the documents that had been sent to Victim A over the years, Dziesiuta told agents she had "worked on their wording using a thesaurus to make them sound complicated," the complaint alleged. Dziesiuta said she started out making
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