Jamaican Lottery Scammer Sentenced To U.S. Prison

The fraudulent lottery industry is huge in Jamaica, extracting hundreds of millions of dollars from the pockets of victims, who are mostly in the U.S. and mostly elderly. For the first time, someone involved in the industry has been tried and sentenced in a federal court in this country for selling lists of leads to current and aspiring scammers.

The fallout in the lives of scam victims is devastating. Once on the hook, victims send thousands of dollars in the hope of receiving millions back, but in the end all they get are a barrage of phone calls demanding more money. Some victims have committed suicide.

Scammers contact their victims through the mail or over the phone, and they obtain the mailing lists that they use from specialized services. That’s the business that the 26-year-old Jamaican who was tried in North Dakota was in: he was a former scammer who went into the lead list business instead. He sold lists to hundreds of other scammers in turn.

The federal government found 80 victims who were on this seller’s lead lists, and their losses totaled $5.5 million U.S. Attorney Christopher C. Myers called the victims willing to tell their stories publicly “heroes,” since exposing scams is the only way to hold the people behind them accountable. “Until recently, these scammers operated with impunity,” Myers said in a statement. “We are helping to find them and hold them accountable for their crimes.”

There are no legitimate lotteries that you can win without entering, or that require you to send money to claim prizes.

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