Lottery scammer convicted
Told court he thought money was sent to him by lover

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Kemar Townsend, who was before the St Catherine Circuit Court on lottery scamming and money laundering charges, which saw approximately US$44,000 (J$6,371,200) being transferred to his bank account over two years, has been found guilty.

Townsend, who appeared before a seven-man jury during the two-week-long trial, was found guilty of three offenses: conspiracy to obtain money by false pretence contrary to the law reform (Fraudulent Transaction) (Special Provision) Act, 2015; engaging in a transaction involving criminal property, contrary to section 92(1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act; and possession of criminal property, contrary to section 93(1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act on the 30th day of May 2022.

He had been arrested and charged with the offences in 2018.

During the trial, the court heard that the scam started when the complainant — a 72-year-old United States citizen — first received several telephone calls from at least two people, informing her that she had won the lottery for a total of US$682 million, three motor vehicles and US$297,000 in refunds.

The complainant, who testified via video link, said she was instructed by one of the callers that the funds were being housed in Jamaica and that she had to send money to Jamaica to claim her prizes.

On three separate occasions, she said she sent money to a local bank account held by Townsend —US$9000 on December 14, 2017, US$10,000 on December 21, 2017, and US$25,000 on January 3, 2018.

Evidence from the local bank regarding the transactions supported the complainant’s claims. The exhibits further showed that Townsend received, used and withdrew the money sent by the complainant.

However, Townsend, who was represented by attorney Davion Vassell, gave evidence that he thought the money received in his bank account was sent by his lover who resided in Switzerland.

He said he was expecting funds from his lover around the same time that the complainant sent the money to his bank account.

When the trial was concluded on Tuesday, the jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict after approximately 30 minutes.

Townsend is to be sentenced on the 17th day of June 2022.

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