Tuesday 23 July, 2019

Former Jamaican student athlete charged with lotto scamming in US

Alex Saunders (Photo: Facebook)

Alex Saunders (Photo: Facebook)

A Jamaican former student athlete, who attended the Southern University in New Orleans (SUNO), has been arrested and charged in the United States for alleged involvement in lotto scamming.

Twenty-six-year-old Alex Saunders was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in the Eastern District of Louisiana on August 3.

According to a release from the United States Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Louisiana, Saunders was charged in a bill of information, which "usually indicates that a defendant intends to plead guilty."

He is scheduled to appear before the court on August 27.

An indictment filed by federal prosecutors last Friday stated that between August 2013 and December 2015, Saunders and a Texas woman, Debra Krom, created bank accounts in the United States to assist a lottery scam operating out of Jamaica, which involved Andrew Bowyer as one of its members.

The scammers placed phone calls to elderly and mentally infirm people to convince them that they had won lotteries and sweepstakes.

In one of the scams, which occurred in November 2014, an 83-year-old person living in Tucson, Arizona, sent US$9,000 to Saunders’ bank account.

The indictment stated that Saunders then transferred more than US$8,000 to the bank account of the co-conspirator in Jamaica, Andrew Bowyer.

Authorities later arrested Bowyer and he was sentenced to six and a half years in prison in July 2017.

If convicted, Saunders faces a maximum term of five years imprisonment, a fine of not more than US$250,000, supervised release of three years, and a special assessment of US$100, according to the US Attorney's Office.

The Jamaican was last enrolled as a student at SUNO in the fall of 2017. He was no longer a member of the track team at the institution.

He is a former student of Kingston College (KC) and Mannings. He represented KC at the ISSA Boys and Girls Athletics Championships in the 800 metres running event.

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