Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Man Involved in Jamaican Lottery Scam Sentenced to 6 Years

A Jamaican man who, according to authorities, was the head of a lottery scam that defrauded more than 95 Americans out of over $5.8 million has been jailed for 6 years.

The 29-year-old Lavrick Willocks executed the scam in a Jamaica Mansion, where he and his mother lived. Prosecutors eventually charged a total of 27 people and located victims in North Dakota, South Dakota, South Carolina, Texas and Arizona. Authorities stated that one of the victims had committed suicide.

The 27 people charged have all admitted their crimes or been convicted. The majority have been sentenced. The case was prosecuted in North Dakota, where the investigation began 6 years ago after a 82-year-old victim was defrauded out of her life savings.

In July 2017, Willocks admitted conspiracy and faced 65 other counts including wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering. The man was facing up to 40 years in jail but he finally received only 6 years thanks to his plea deal that encouraged a few other defendants to plead guilty.

Denying to be the Kingpin

Willocks apologised for his involvement in the scam but refused to admit that he was the kingpin. Accusing the government of overstating his role, he said: “I am being portrayed as something I’m not,”

“The government tries to portray me as a mastermind or kingpin, or words to exaggerate the role I played here. If I hadn’t been involved, it wouldn’t have stopped anything.”

The scam is believed to be the first large-scale Jamaican lottery scam tried in US courts. It is estimated that the lottery scam industry in Jamaica has an annual revenue of about $1 billion.

“I know you weren’t the first person. I know you won’t be the last. It’s going on forever; it’s a way of life in Jamaica,” US District Judge Daniel Hovland told Willocks.