KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday November 9, 2012 – Jamaican authorities say they have rescued an elderly United States citizen from the clutches of lottery scammers in western Jamaica.
National Security Minister Peter Bunting is highlighting the case as among the successes of the Lottery Scam Task Force that was established in January.
Bunting told delegates to a Lottery Scam Forum that reports received indicated that the unidentified citizen had been “lured” to Jamaica by the scammers earlier this year.
He said while the motive behind the move was unclear, the Task Force, having received word of the development, and fearing for the person’s safety, moved decisively, in collaboration with United States counterparts, to rescue him, “perhaps, saving his life in the process.
“We are grateful for the recognition we got from the United States Embassy here, for that operation,” said Bunting, adding that the Task Force had recorded significant successes in efforts to dismantle lottery scam operations.
He said approximately 31 major operations have resulted in the seizure of an estimated J$29.6 million (One Jamaica dollar = US$0.04 cents); 118 motor vehicles, as well as “hundreds” of cell phones, magic jacks, and computers.
Bunting said charges were laid against 85 of the 368 persons arrested. Of this number, 21 were charged directly in connection with lottery scamming activities, while the remaining 64 were booked for a range of other offences, including: illegal possession of firearm, and marijuana, as well as electricity theft.
“Sometimes when you are going after criminal organisations, and you don’t have the evidence to convict them on the primary illegal activity (such as lottery scamming), sometimes you have to go for the secondary activities, and disrupt the operations that they are doing,” he explained.
Bunting noted that in recognition of the Tier One threat which the lottery scam posed to Jamaica’s security and economy, the administration moved decisively to treat with the development, resulting in the formation of the Task Force.
“What struck me was that within the first month of establishing the Task Force, they started to have significant successes in breaking up and disrupting lotto scam activities in St. James, in particular,” he added.
Earlier, Director of Public Prosecutions, (DPP), Paula Llewellyn, called for the implementation of an Advance Fee Fraud Act which would help to clamp down on persons involved in the multi-million dollar lottery scam.
The Advance Fee Fraud Act is currently used in Nigeria to combat criminal activities which are similar to the lottery scam.
Llewellyn said currently there is no criminal charge that specifically refers to the scam.
Persons suspected to be involved in the lottery scam are largely charged under the Larceny Act, the Unlawful Possession of Property Act, and the Proceeds of Crime Act, (POCA). (CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)