KINGSTON, Jamaica — National Security Minister, Peter Bunting, has listed the rescue of an elderly United States citizen, reportedly from the clutches of lottery scammers in western Jamaica, among the successes of the Lottery Scam Task Force, since its formation in January.
Speaking at a Lottery Scam Forum, hosted by Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) at the Terra Nova Hotel, St Andrew, on November 7, Bunting said reports indicate that the citizen had been “lured” to Jamaica by the scammers earlier this year.
While the motive behind this move was unclear, Bunting said the Task Force, having received word of the development, and fearing for the person’s safety, moved decisively, in collaboration with US counterparts, to rescue him, “perhaps, saving his life in the process.”
He pointed out that US authorities commended members of the Task Force, and local law enforcement stakeholders in general for their decisive response to this development, adding that “we are grateful for the recognition we got from the US Embassy here, for that operation.”
Meanwhile, Bunting reported that the Task Force recorded significant successes in efforts to dismantle lottery scam operations, particularly in St James.
He informed that approximately 31 major operations have resulted in the seizure of the Jamaican equivalent of some $29.6 million in foreign currencies; 118 motor vehicles, most of which are in the process of being forfeited by the State; as well as “hundreds” of cell phones, magic jacks, and computers.
The minister said charges were laid against 85 of the 368 persons arrested. Of this number, 21 were charged directly in connection with lottery scamming activities, while the remaining 64 were booked for a range of other offences, including: illegal possession of firearm, and ganja, as well as electricity theft.
Bunting noted that in recognition of the Tier One threat, which the lottery scam posed to Jamaica’s security and economy, the administration moved decisively to treat with the development, resulting in the formation of the Task Force.