Police arrest, charge six for lottery scamming

BY TANESHA MUNDLE Observer staff reporter mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

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Six people, including two women, believed to be a part of a lottery scam syndicate operating out of Westmoreland and St James, were last week arrested and charged under the Law Reform Act.

Police report that they have charged Christiana Curtis, 22, customer service agent of 34 Coral Gable, Independence City in Portmore, St Catherine; Landique Woodbourne, 25, of Cambridge, St James; Fabian Ramsey, 27; Viviene Duncan, 39; and Gideon Wright, 22, all of Lambs River in Westmoreland; and Danny Williams, 31 of Darliston district in the same parish.


The accused, said to be members of an organisation which has affiliates islandwide, were subsequently released on station bail and are scheduled to appear in the St James Parish Court on February 1.


Police said they were arrested during a series of operations carried out by the Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch (C-TOC) between January 3 and 9 in Westmoreland, St Catherine, and St James, following allegations that they defrauded a 56-year-old, retired United States citizen of over $3 million.


According to the police, sometime in March 2014, the complainant was contacted via telephone and informed by a caller using the 1-876 area code that she was the winner of US$2.5 million lottery/ sweepstakes and a brand new Mercedes Benz motor car.


The complainant was further instructed that in order to claim her prize she would have to send monies to cover various taxes, processing fees, insurance and delivery before her prize could be released to her.


Police said their investigations revealed that the complainant sent over US$22,600 between March and November 2014.


Deputy Superintendent of Police Samuel Blake, head of the Anti-Gang Unit at C-TOC, said that "The JCF is scaling up its investigative capabilities to track down persons who are involved in lottery scamming activity, regardless of the role they play."


"C-TOC," he said, "will continue to be aggressive in coordinating the JCF’s effort to combat lottery scamming activity in 2017."


In the meantime, DSP Blake told the Jamaica Observer that the police will be publishing more photographs of offenders who are arrested and charged under the Law Reform Act this year in an effort to dissuade more people from getting involved.


"What we want to do is to convey that real persons are being arrested and charged and we hope that persons who want to get involved will refrain from doing so. Shame and embarrassment may be one factor in achieving this," he said.


At the same time, DSP Blake is also advising the public to be very careful when they are approached by people seeking their assistance to collect large amounts of cash, to transport cash, or to register properties in their names.


In 2016, the police arrested and placed before the courts approximately 350 individuals for breaches of the Law Reform Act and secured 50 convictions.


    

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