Be killed or go to jail - Cop sends warning to scammers
Head of the Police Area One Fraud Squad Sergeant Kevin Watson is concerned that some influential persons in society are condoning the actions of lottery scammers.
"One of the things that I am concerned about is when you have persons in society who you would look up to, persons who you would consider educated, some of these persons have certain influence and you hear them on the media, and they are saying that when you get rid of lottery scamming, you're sending the youths to carry out other criminals activities," he said.
Watson's statement comes after eight Jamaicans were last week extradited to the United States to stand trial for lottery scamming. They are Dahlia Elaine Hunter, Kimberly Carlo-Jean Hudson, Kazrae Gray, Dario Palmer aka 'Innocent Palmer', Jason Joseph Jahalal, O'Neil Brown, Alrick McLeod aka 'Birdman' or 'Z-Bird', and Xanu Ann Morgan.
Lavrick Willocks is said to be the ringleader in the alleged scam that has bilked at least 90 mostly elderly US residents out of more than US$5.7 million.
One of Willocks' former co-defendants, Sanjay Ashani Williams, was convicted after a trial in North Dakota in 2015 and sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for selling victim lead lists used in international cyber-fraud. More than 10 other defendants have entered guilty pleas in related cases in North Dakota.
In light of these arrests, Watson is warning persons to resist the allure of the illicit means of acquiring easy money as it will not end well for them.
"I have always said that once you get involved in lottery scamming there are really only two outcomes: either you end up getting killed by other criminals or you are going to be arrested. And all what you have gained through lottery scamming, you are going to lose it," he said.
"We have encouraged the next generation to not get involved in crime because once you are a lottery scammer, the law will catch up with you, and that is the best of the two."
Commenting on the development, Central St James Member of Parliament Heroy Clarke said, "The chips have to fall where they may."
"If somebody is going against the law, then we have to allow the law to run its course, and if that is the end result of their investigations, as long as the investigations are fair, we have to just stand by it," Clarke said.