J’can lottery scammer pleads guilty in North Carolina
WASHINGTON, DC, United States — A Jamaican, who was previously extradited to the United States from Jamaica, pleaded guilty in the US District Court for the Western District of North Carolina in connection with a fraudulent, Jamaica-based, lottery scheme that targeted elderly victims in the United States.
According to court documents Antony Linton Stewart, 39, of St James in Jamaica, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
As part of his plea agreement Stewart admitted that he contacted elderly Americans by telephone and falsely told them that they had won money and other prizes in a sweepstakes or lottery. Stewart told victims that they needed to send money to pay fees and taxes on their winnings. Stewart contacted victims repeatedly for as long as they could be persuaded to send additional money. At Stewart’s direction victims used wire transfers and the US Postal Service, among other means, to send money to individuals in the United States and Jamaica who served as intermediaries and transmitted the money to Stewart. In fact, no lottery ever existed, and no victim ever received any money or other prizes. The scheme defrauded victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“The Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch is committed to investigating fraudulent schemes targeting elderly Americans, wherever those schemes are based,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Stewart is the latest example in the department’s ongoing efforts to root out and deter fraud from foreign locations that targets our most vulnerable consumers.”
“Each year, millions of older Americans suffer heavy financial losses in the hands of scammers operating in the United States and abroad,” said US Attorney Dena J King for the Western District of North Carolina. “Today’s guilty plea underscores our efforts to investigate and bring to justice perpetrators of elder fraud schemes — no matter where they originate. We will continue to join forces with our law enforcement counterparts to do all we can to stop these criminals from stealing from our seniors.”
“The US Postal Inspection Service [USPIS] is committed to investigating those who use US mail to commit fraud and target elderly and vulnerable American citizens, both domestically and abroad,” said Inspector in Charge Christopher A Nielsen of the USPIS Philadelphia Division. “Today’s plea exemplifies the unwavering efforts of postal inspectors — in collaboration with our law enforcement partners here in the United States and around the world — to bring these callous criminals to justice.”
The USPIS investigated the case while the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs worked with law enforcement partners in Jamaica to secure the arrest and extradition of Stewart. The US Marshals Service also provided significant assistance.
The case was prosecuted by senior trial attorney Raquel Toledo and trial attorney Ryan E Norman of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch, with the assistance of assistant US attorneys Jenny G Sugar and Daniel Ryan for the Western District of North Carolina.