A Jamaican national was sentenced today to three years in prison for conspiring to organize 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 September 2013 or around August 2015 or around August, Clarke worked with co-conspirators, including Claude Anthony Shaw, in a fraud scheme in which victims were called and falsely told they had won over $1 million. dollars in a lottery. and had to pay fees or taxes to claim their winnings. The victims were instructed to send their money by wire transfer or mail to Shaw and others. As part of the conspiracy, Clarke and Shaw discussed (by phone and text) plans to receive the money from the victims. Under Clarke’s direction, Shaw received money from the victims by wire transfer and mail. Clarke and Shaw discussed arrangements for victims to send money to other people Shaw was working with. Clarke then instructed Shaw to send the victims’ money to Clarke in Jamaica, usually by wire transfer. Victims who sent money to Clarke and his co-conspirators never received lottery winnings. Clarke pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud for his role in the Aug. 19 scam.
Shaw previously pleaded guilty to mail fraud in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale. In June 2017, he was sentenced to three years in prison.
“Today’s sentencing demonstrates the Department of Justice’s commitment to combating foreign-based lottery fraud schemes targeting U.S. consumers,” said Senior Assistant Deputy Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the civil division of the Department of Justice. “Perpetrators of these schemes will be prosecuted regardless of where they live and operate.”
“The Postal Inspection Service will continue to actively investigate Jamaica-based fraudulent lottery schemes aimed at defrauding victims in the United States,” said Acting Inspector-in-Charge Juan A. Vargas of the Division of Miami from the United States Postal Inspection Service. “We will not allow the fraudsters responsible for these Jamaican lottery scams to use US mail to commit their crime.”
The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs worked with law enforcement partners in Jamaica to secure Clarke’s arrest and extradition.
The United States Postal Inspection Service investigated the matter.
Lead prosecutor Arturo DeCastro of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch prosecuted the case.
The ministry’s wide-ranging and extensive efforts to combat senior fraud are aimed at halting the widespread losses that seniors suffer from fraud schemes. However, the best method of prevention is to share information about the different types of fraudulent schemes with relatives, friends, neighbors and other seniors who can use this information to protect themselves.
If you or someone you know is aged 60 or over and has been the victim of financial fraud, you can get help from the National Senior Fraud Hotline: 1- 833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This Department of Justice hotline, operated by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the victim’s needs and identifying appropriate next steps. Case managers will identify appropriate reporting agencies, provide information to callers to help them report, 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 are committing fraud, and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering the losses. The hotline is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. English, Spanish and other languages are available.
Additional information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch. Information about the Justice Department’s Elder Fraud Initiative is available at www.justice.gov/elderjustice.