Lottery scammers in Montego Bay, St James, are digging deep into their pockets to pay local 'witch doctors' to protect them against evil forces rumoured to be plaguing their colleagues.
Some scammers are said to be paying as much as $600,000 to get rid of DeLaurence spells, THE STAR has learnt.
The streets of Montego Bay are buzzing with talk that the scammers, who have made millions from conning persons out of their money, are now being haunted or even killed by duppies and spells said to have been 'sent' by those affected by their operations.
Some scammers are said to be having thousands of dollars mysteriously becoming ablaze in their pockets, short spells of insanity and having visitations from
Pretty white girl
In one report from a resident, a scammer is said to have fainted after people complimented him for travelling around with a "pretty white girl" on the back of his motorcycle. The scammer, however, had no knowledge that the girl was riding around with him.
One witch doctor with whom THE STAR spoke on the condition of anonymity said the scammers have been paying between $200,000 and $600,000 to protect them against the spells.
"Mi work wid de majority a dem man deh. Some top man inna de scam link mi fi mi 'seal dem up'. Anywhere mi deh, dem find mi," he said. He further said that the price of the job varied according to the type of seal the scammers were seeking.
"All $500,000 or so they have to pay sometimes because you have different seals. You have the seven seals and then the 21 seals, so it vary."
After explaining the process where coffins, bottles, jewellery and fire were used to perform the rituals for the clients, he noted that the affected men did not hesitate to fork out the cash when he named his price.
"Dem sort mi out yes, because dem ave the money," he said. He even bragged that he was behind the success of many of them as he has "fixed up the papers" (sheets of paper with the details of the persons to be scammed), allowing for easy persuasion when the scammers contacted the unsuspecting foreigners.
"So, a nuff a dem mi tun inna millionaire, mi buss dem," he said. "Nuff time dem all bring back dem friend fi mi sort dem out too."
While stating that the dark forces have not affected him, one scammer with whom the newspaper spoke related the experiences of two of his colleagues.
"A nuff things a gwaan inna de game man," he said. "All money bun up inna mi breddrin pocket, 'bout $100,000 him did ave. Him affi hurry up and tek off him shorts." He continued: "All Lukazukamakfrom up the road, him ave a client, any time him call them (on the telephone) him head tek him. Him can't sleep, him just start run up and down like him mad."
The man went further said he has heard about persons who have had 'caucasian-looking ghosts' knocking on their room doors, stating that they came to collect their "package".
Assistant Commissioner of Police Denver Frater, in charge of the Area One, told THE STAR that they have heard of the DeLaurence rumours. "We have heard the rumours but it is not something that we can confirm," ACP Frater said, almost chuckling through his response.
The Montego Bay lotto scam came to light in 2005 and has since boomed into a multi-million dollar business for criminals. Scam artists use illicitly obtained personal information about American citizens to con them into sending money under the guise that they had won a lottery.
Name changed upon request.