US man linked to J’can lottery scam pleads guilty

Thursday, March 23, 2017

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A Florida resident is to be sentenced at the end of May after he pleaded guilty for his role in a Jamaican-based lottery scam.

The Department of Justice announced in a release on Wednesday that 49-year-old Claude Shaw pleaded guilty in the Southern District of Florida to one count of mail fraud.

Shaw was charged in connection with a fraudulent lottery scheme, based in Jamaica, that induced victims in the United States to send Shaw more than US$100,000 to cover purported fees for lottery winnings that victims had not won and never received. He is to be sentenced on May 31.

"This case demonstrates the Justice Department’s commitment to combating international lottery fraud schemes based in Jamaica targeting potentially vulnerable individuals," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. "Financial fraud schemes directed at unsuspecting victims will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

The release said that, as part of his guilty plea, Shaw agreed that if this case proceeded to trial, the United States would have proved beyond a reasonable doubt that, from in or around September 2013, through in or around August 2015, he participated in a scheme to defraud victims in the US and unlawfully enrich himself.

Victims throughout the US received telephone calls in which they were falsely informed that they had won over a million dollars in a lottery and needed to pay money in advance to claim their winnings. The victims were instructed on how, and to whom to send their money.

As part of the scheme, the release said, victims were instructed to send their money to Shaw.

Victims reportedly sent over US$100,000 to Shaw, who then forwarded a portion of the money to Jamaica. The victims never received any lottery winnings.

"The Postal Inspection Service is committed to investigating fraudulent lottery schemes based in Jamaica directed at ripping off individuals in the United States," said Inspector in Charge Antonio Gomez of the US Postal Inspection Service’s Miami, Florida Division. "Lottery fraud scams tied to Jamaica are targeting victims in the United States, and we will not allow them to use the US mail to commit their crime."

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