A Jamaican national was sentenced today to three years in prison for conspiring to run a Jamaica-based lottery scam that targeted elderly American consumers.
According to court documents, Greg Warren Clarke, 30, of Montego Bay conspired to operate a fraudulent lottery scheme. From in or around September 2013, through in or around August 2015, Clarke worked with co-conspirators, including Claude Anthony Shaw, in a scheme to defraud in which victims were called and falsely told that they had won over $1 million dollars in a lottery and needed to pay fees or taxes to claim their winnings. Victims were instructed to send their money through wire transfers or the mail to Shaw and other individuals. As part of the conspiracy, Clarke and Shaw discussed (over the phone and through cell phone text messages) plans to receive victims’ money. At Clarke’s direction, Shaw received money from victims through wire transfers and the mail. Clarke and Shaw discussed arrangements for victims to send money to other individuals with whom Shaw worked. Clarke then instructed Shaw to send the victims’ money to Clarke in Jamaica, usually through wire transfers. Victims who sent money to Clarke and his co-conspirators never received any lottery winnings. Clarke pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud for his role in the scam on Aug. 19.
Shaw previously pleaded guilty to mail fraud in the U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale. In June 2017, he was sentenced to three years in prison.
“Today’s sentencing demonstrates the Justice Department’s commitment to combatting foreign-based lottery fraud schemes targeting American consumers,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The perpetrators of these schemes will be prosecuted, regardless of where they live and operate.”
“The Postal Inspection Service will continue to actively investigate fraudulent lottery schemes based in Jamaica directed at fleecing victims in the United States,” said Acting Inspector in Charge Juan A. Vargas of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Miami Division. “We will not allow the fraudsters responsible for these Jamaican lottery scams to use the U.S. mail to commit their crime.”
The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs worked with law enforcement partners in Jamaica to secure the arrest and extradition of Clarke.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated this case.
Senior Trial Attorney Arturo DeCastro of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch prosecuted 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 open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 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.