[JURIST] Authorities in five countries have arrested 565 people as part of Operation Global Con [DOJ fact sheet], the US Justice Department [official website] and Federal Trade Commission [official website] announced Tuesday. Officials said the suspects received more than $1 billion from some 2.8 million Americans who thought they were paying to get credit cards, claim sweepstakes winnings, make investments or avoid paying taxes. Many of those arrested were West Africans accused of sending "Nigerian scam" junk e-mails [Snopes.com backgrounder] that promised recipients a windfall if they paid a small amount upfront. Other scams were carried out through telemarketing or mass mailings.
US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said the investigation was the largest of its kind [statement] and at the same press conference, FTC Chairwoman Deborah Platt Majoras [official profile] said that those who commit these sorts of crimes prey on vulnerable consumers, like the elderly or immigrants. AP has more.