A resident of Montego Bay, Jamaica, was extradited to the United States and made his initial appearance in federal court in Charlotte, North Carolina, on charges relating to his participation in a fraudulent lottery scheme that targeted elderly victims in the United States, the Department of Justice and U.S. Postal Inspection Service announced today.
Antony L. Stewart, 38, was charged in a nine-count indictment with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The indictment was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina in December 2019 and was unsealed after the defendant’s extradition.
According to the unsealed indictment, Stewart and his co-conspirators sought to unlawfully enrich themselves through a fraudulent lottery scheme targeting the elderly. Victims throughout the United States received phone calls in which they were falsely informed that they had won cash prizes totaling over $1 million and needed to pay fees in order to claim their winnings. The indictment alleges that victims were instructed on how to send their money, including through the use of money transmitter services, wire transfers, and the U.S. Postal Service, and to whom. The indictment further alleges victims were instructed to purchase electronics and other expensive goods and to send them to Stewart’s co-conspirators, who ultimately forwarded the goods and money to Stewart in Jamaica. The victims never received any “winnings.”
The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs worked with law enforcement partners in Jamaica to secure the arrest and extradition of Stewart.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Raquel Toledo and Ryan E. Norman of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch, with the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenny Sugar for the Western District of North Carolina.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the case.
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.