Jamaican lottery scammer arrested in federal crackdown

ID-100128578I hate fraud schemes in general, but I especially hate the ones that target the elderly. One such scammer may be about to get his comeuppance.

Watchyoubuck has warned about pay-up-front prize scams in the past. You get a letter or call saying you’ve won a substantial prize. All you have to do is wire money to cover fees. The prize turns out to be fake and the crooks keep the money.

On Aug. 13. a Jamaican citizen charged in connection with the operation of a fraudulent lottery was arrested in Orlando, Fla., following his indictment by a federal grand jury in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Aug. 9, 2012.

Oneike Mickhale Barnett and his co-conspirators allegedly ran a lottery scam in Jamaica that convinced elderly victims in the U.S. to send thousands of dollars to cover fees for nonexistent lottery winnings. The indictment was part of the government’s crackdown on fraudulent lottery scams based in Jamaica.

Barnett and his co-conspirators allegedly made calls from Jamaica using Internet-based technology that let them use a phone number with a U.S. area code. Barnett reportedly got victims to send money to middlemen in South Florida, who forwarded the money to Jamaica.

Barnett was charged with conspiracy and 37 counts of wire fraud and with committing the offenses through telemarketing. If he is convicted, he could be sentenced to as much as 30 years per count, a possible fine and mandatory restitution.

Check out this article from the U.S. Department of Justice for more details: Individual Arrested in Florida in Connection with a Lottery Scam in Jamaica.