Israeli prosecutors on Thursday sought court approval to extradite 11 people wanted in the United States on charges of running a telemarketing fraud that bilked elderly victims out of more than $25 million.
Criminal indictments unsealed in a district court in Manhattan on Tuesday accuse 12 people of phoning victims in the United States and falsely telling them they had won an international lottery.
Victims were told they needed to pay thousands of dollars in fees and taxes before claiming their prizes, authorities said. There was no lottery and the victims never received prizes after sending money to the defendants in Israel, U.S. officials said.
Eleven of the accused ten Israelis and a U.S. citizen appeared on Thursday in a Jerusalem court where prosecutors demanded they remain in custody until they are extradited to the United States, the Justice Ministry said.
It did not say why only 11 people, and not 12 as stated in the U.S. indictment, had been arrested.
The indictment filed charged the 12 with conspiracy to commit fraud through an Israel-based telemarketing firm. Several were also charged with mail fraud and wire fraud.