Jamaican lottery scammers who targeted elderly face American Justice

A Jamaican national was sentenced to three years in prison for conspiring to run a Jamaica-based lottery scam that targeted elderly American consumers who never received any “winnings” on the same day that another resident of Montego Bay, Jamaica, was extradited to the United States on similar charges.

Greg Warren Clarke, 30, of Montego Bay was sentenced to three years in prison. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud for his role in the lottery scam on Aug. 19.

Antony L. Stewart, 38, was charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering in a nine-count indictment that was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina in December 2019 and unsealed after the defendant’s extradition on Friday, October 28, 2022.

From in or around September 2013, through in or around August 2015, Clarke worked with co-conspirators, including Claude Anthony Shaw, in a scheme to defraud in which victims were called and falsely told that they had won over $1 million dollars in a lottery and needed to pay fees or taxes to claim their winnings.

Shaw previously pleaded guilty to mail fraud in the U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale and he was sentenced to three years in prison in June 2017.

Victims were instructed to send their money through wire transfers or the mail to Shaw and other individuals.

Stewart and his co-conspirators sought to unlawfully enrich themselves by targeting the elderly through a similar fraudulent lottery scheme.

If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is available at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311).

This Department of Justice hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim and identifying relevant next steps.

Reporting is the first step. Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud, and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering losses.

The hotline is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. English, Spanish and other languages are available.

How the Scam Works

A person may receive a telephone call from Jamaica (or another country) indicating that they’ve won a prize in a foreign lottery or contest. The victim is told that to collect the prize, they must pay fees for shipping, taxes, insurance, customs processing, etc.

The victim is then asked to provide their banking or credit card information, or to wire money by MoneyGram or Western Union. In some cases, the victims may be asked to send a check to a certain location, either in a foreign country or to a “drop box” within the United States.

Once the fraudsters have the routing information from a person’s check or their bank account information, however, they use this information to make unauthorized withdrawals from the victim’s bank account.

Although there are many versions of this scam in operation, they all bear one common trait: a request that you send money to receive your prize.

The scammer typically assures victims that they will receive their prize shortly after the lottery has received their payment. Oftentimes, the fraudulent operator may try to gain credibility by claiming to be a lawyer, a customs official, or somehow associated with the Jamaican government.

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