Jamaican Lottery Scammer Pleads Guilty in the US
KINGSTON, Jamaica (August 4, 2023) — A St James businessman alleged to be the mastermind behind a local lottery scamming group, Anthony Stewart, is reported by local media to have pleaded guilty in the United States in connection with the scheme which targeted elderly American victims.
Thirty-nine-year-old Stewart pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in US District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, The Gleaner reported the Justice Department said in a news release.
Conspiracy to commit wire fraud carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
As part of his plea agreement, Stewart admitted that he contacted elderly Americans by telephone and falsely told them that they had won money and other prizes in a sweepstakes or lottery.
Stewart told victims that they needed to send money to pay fees and taxes on their winnings.
Stewart contacted victims repeatedly for as long as they could be persuaded to send additional money.
At Stewart’s direction, victims used wire transfers and the US Postal Service, among other means, to send money to individuals in the United States and Jamaica who served as intermediaries and transmitted the money to Stewart.
However, no such lottery existed, and no victim ever received any money or other prizes. The scheme defrauded victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“Each year, millions of older Americans suffer heavy financial losses in the hands of scammers operating in the United States and abroad,” said US Attorney Dena J King for the Western District of North Carolina.
“Today’s guilty plea underscores our efforts to investigate and bring to justice perpetrators of elder fraud schemes no matter where they originate. We will continue to join forces with our law enforcement counterparts to do all we can to stop these criminals from stealing from our seniors, ” she said.
The US Postal Inspection Service investigated the case. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs worked with law enforcement partners in Jamaica to secure the arrest and extradition of Stewart. The US Marshals Service also provided significant assistance.
SOURCE: The Gleaner.Tags: Jamaica, mail and wire fraud, Lottery Scams