BUSTED! Jamaican citizen charged in lottery scam against U.S. seniors

By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller

I recently spoke to a group from the Eagle Christian Church called the Hilltoppers.

Dale Dixon, CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving the Snake River Region, told be to talk about schemes in the region, so I prepared the “If you’ve ever …” speech and was off.

A key points in the speech goes like this: “If you’ve ever gotten a letter, an email, a text or a phone call claiming that you’re the ‘lucky winner’… it’s a scam!”

And then I explain how they reel you in, if you respond: “All you have to do is wire money to cover fees.”

According to the FBI, it’s against the law to run or take part in a foreign lottery. Don’t believe me: Read this! from U.S. Department of Justice.

The Justice Department, and ancillary agencies, work continuously to stop those who perpetrate these schemes against the senior citizens in the region.

On Aug. 13, 2013, a Jamaican citizen was arrested in Orlando, Fla.,  on a charged of operating a fraudulent lottery, following his indictment by a federal grand jury in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Aug. 9, 2012.

While the scam was based in Jamaica, it targeted victims in the United States, including South Florida.  Justice Department will continue to pursue and prosecute those responsible for these illegal schemes to bring those responsible to justice and protect those in our society.

Oneike Mickhale Barnett and his co-conspirators allegedly ran a lottery scam in Jamaica that convinced elderly victims in the U.S. to send thousands of dollars to cover fees for nonexistent lottery winnings. The indictment was part of the government’s crackdown on fraudulent lottery scams based in Jamaica.

Barnett and his co-conspirators allegedly made calls from Jamaica using Internet-based technology that let them use a phone number with a U.S. area code. Barnett reportedly got victims to send money to middlemen in South Florida, who forwarded the money to Jamaica.

Barnett was charged with conspiracy and 37 counts of wire fraud and with committing the offenses through telemarketing. If he is convicted, he could be sentenced to as much as 30 years per count, a possible fine and mandatory restitution.

Check out this article from the U.S. Department of Justice for more details: Individual Arrested in Florida in Connection with a Lottery Scam in Jamaica.

 — This column first appears in Watchyourbuck


1 Comment

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One response to “BUSTED! Jamaican citizen charged in lottery scam against U.S. seniors

  1. ruthie

    From all the scams I read about at Callercenter.com this fake lottery call is the most obvious. I got a call like that and I thought, why would I win when I never joined any drawing? Well, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

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