Both schemes followed a similar pattern, involving a complicated web of actors located across the world. Fraudulent "direct mailers" created letters falsely claiming that the recipient has won, or will soon win, cash or valuable prizes, or otherwise will come into good fortune. In order to collect these benefits, the letters say that the recipients need only send in a small amount of money for a processing fee. The letters appeared to come from legitimate sources, typically on official-looking letterhead, but were in fact fictitious individuals and organizations including "Baroness de Rothman," "DNF Funds Office," "Finkelstein & Partner," the "Harrison Institute," and Marie de Fortune. Moreover, even though the solicitations are in reality identical form letters sent to thousands or tens of thousands of recipients - the letters appear to be personally addressed.
As FCC Chairman Pai announced his plan to dismantle the net neutrality regulations that ensure a free and open internet, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman released an open letter regarding the massive scheme to corrupt the FCC's notice and comment process through the misuse of enormous numbers of real New Yorkers' and other Americans' identities. That scheme is under investigation by the Attorney General's office; however, to date, the FCC has refused to provide the office with information that is critical to the investigation.In May 2017, researchers and reporters discovered that the FCC's public comment process was being corrupted by the submission of enormous numbers of fake comments concerning the possible repeal of net neutrality rules. The Attorney General's office analyzed the fake comments and found that tens of thousands of New Yorkers - and hundreds of thousands of Americans - may have had their identities misused. While some of these fake comments used made up names and addresses, many misused the real names and addresses of actual people as part of the effort to undermine the integrity of the comment process.The Attorney General's office reached out for assistance to multiple top FCC officials, including Chairman Pai, three successive acting FCC General Counsels, and the FCC's Inspector General, but has received no substantive response to its investigative requests. . .