Posted on: December 18, 2023, 06:41h.
Last updated on: December 18, 2023, 06:41h.
In the latest crackdown on international fraud, authorities in the US have indicted seven individuals by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, PA. The charges are in connection to a wide-ranging lottery scam that targeted unsuspecting Americans across the country. The alleged masterminds, including Jason Plummer, Troy Williams, and Tajay Singh from Jamaica, are accused of running a scheme that defrauded victims of at least $2.8 million.
The Jamaican trio were the alleged masterminds, but they didn’t act alone. The US Department of Justice revealed indictments against Tashane Murray of Miramar, FL; Clevon McKenzie of Mount Vernon, NY; Gyzzell Byfield of Bridgeport, CT; and Daneil Reid of Fort Lauderdale, FL. The illicit proceeds were channeled through a network of bank accounts and money mules, eventually reaching the hands of the masterminds in Jamaica.
The charges against the individuals include conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. The maximum penalty for each of these offenses is 20 years in prison, according to the press release, a fine of twice the financial loss to any victim, or both.
A recent report by the Cybercrime Support Network showed that lottery scams are still functioning well in the US. Citing data from the Better Business Bureau, it indicated that over 460,000 Americans have been victims of lottery-related scams in the past three years. During that time, the victims lost over $330 million to the fraudsters.
The Federal Trade Commission reported earlier this year that, overall, US consumers lost $8.8 billion to fraud and scams last year. That was a 30% increase over 2021, with lottery and sweepstakes scams ranking fifth of all fraud categories. Investment scams topped the list, stealing over $3.8 billion.