Regional

US senior citizen acted as money mule for lotto scammers

Monday, May 26, 2014    

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — A man, who allegedly employed a 70-year-old American woman to collect and convey proceeds from the lottery scam from her country to Jamaica, is one of two persons recently charged with breaches of the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transaction) (Special Provisions) Act.

The two accused have been identified as 22-year-old Sheldon Bigbie of Medley, Hanover and 25-year-old Marshall Lamey of Rhyne Park, St James.

Corporal Kevin Watson, media liaison and communication officer for the lottery scam task force, said since money transfer services have restricted the amount of cash transferable, persons have been recruited by fraudsters to collect gains from the lucrative scheme abroad, among other new strategies employed.

Corporal Watson reported that earlier this month, the elderly US national, who is a past victim of the scam, was one of two persons held at the Sangster International Airport with large sums of US currency, in two separate incidents.

The elderly woman, who arrived at the airport on May 13, was searched by the Customs Enforcement team, and US$10,000, which she allegedly took for Bigbie, was found in her possession.

Bigbie allegedly told the police he was in an intimate relationship with the senior citizen.

"The 70-year-old woman, who was a victim of the lotto scam is now suspectedly acting as a money mule," Corporal Watson told the Jamaica Observer.

Two days later, the Customs Enforcement team also reportedly held Lamey, shortly after he landed at the airport with US$18,000 hidden in baby wipes in his luggage.

Both Bigbie and Lamey were subsequently charged with breaches of the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transaction) (Special Provisions) Act after lottery scam paraphernalia were found at their homes by the lottery scam task force.

The police say investigations reveal that the Hanover man has been involved in the scam for the past two years, while lottery scam accessories found at the accused St James man's premises date back to 2009.

Bigbie is scheduled to appear in the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's Court on June 17, while Lamey is booked to appear the following day.

Meanwhile, Corporal Watson said the elderly US national has since been released and sent home.

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