A resident of Montego Bay, Jamaica, was extradited to the United States and made his initial appearance in Miami federal court on charges relating to his participation in a bogus lottery scheme that targeted elderly victims in the United States.
Greg Warren Clarke, 29, of Montego Bay, was charged in a six-count indictment with conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and international money laundering. The indictment was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in April 2019 and was unsealed upon the defendant’s extradition to the United States.
According to the indictment, Clarke and his co-conspirators sought to unlawfully enrich themselves through a fraudulent lottery scheme targeting the elderly. Victims throughout the United States received mailings or phone calls in which they were falsely informed that they had won over $1 million dollars in a lottery and needed to pay fees to claim their winnings. The indictment alleges the victims were instructed on how, and to whom, to send their money, and that they were told to send their money through wire transfers, the U.S. Postal Service, and private commercial mail carriers to certain individuals, including Clarke’s cousin, Claude Anthony Shaw. The indictment further alleges that Clarke and Shaw discussed plans to receive victims’ money over the phone and via text messages, and that at Clarke’s direction, Shaw received money from victims and sent the funds to Clarke in Jamaica. The victims never received any lottery winnings. Shaw pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in February 2017 for his role in the scheme and was sentenced to 36 months in prison.
“The Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch is committed to pursuing criminals who defraud U.S. consumers from abroad and to vigorously prosecuting them in federal court after they are apprehended,” said Principal Deputy Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “In this case, the defendant targeted and exploited elderly Americans, and I thank the government of Jamaica for extraditing him to the United States to face charges.”
“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service stands ready to stop overseas criminals from illegally enriching themselves by using the mail to defraud consumers in the United States,” said Inspector in Charge Joseph Cronin of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Miami Division. “We will continue to work with foreign governments to track down these criminals and bring them to justice.”
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Arturo DeCastro of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the case. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Florida, and the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Jamaica Fugitive Apprehension Team provided critical assistance.
The department’s extensive and broad-based efforts to combat elder fraud seek to halt the widespread losses seniors suffer from fraud schemes. The best method for prevention, however, is by sharing information about the various types of elder fraud schemes with relatives, friends, neighbors and other seniors who can use that information to protect themselves.
If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is available at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This Department of Justice hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim and identifying relevant next steps. Case managers will identify appropriate reporting agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with appropriate agencies, and provide resources and referrals, on a case-by-case basis. Reporting is the first step. Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud, and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering losses. The hotline is staffed seven days a week from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. ET. English, Spanish and other languages are available.
Additional information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts may be found at www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch. Information about the Department of Justice’s Elder Fraud Initiative is available at www.justice.gov/elderjustice.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.