Monday 27 January, 2020

Jamaican faces 20 years in prison for lotto scamming in the US

A 34-year-old Jamaican man faces up to 20 years in prison in the United States after pleading guilty on Thursday to scamming an elderly woman of over US$100,000 by claiming that she had won a lottery prize.

The Jamaican is Sanjay Burton, alias ‘Michael Peart’, of Tavern Avenue, Kingston 6.

According to the US Attorney's Office, Burton pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud in US District Court in Syracuse, New York.

In addition to the possibility of being sent to prison for 20 years, the Jamaican also faces a term of post-release supervision of up to three years, and a fine of up to US$250,000, when he is sentenced by Senior United States District Judge, Norman A Mordue, on July 15 of this year.

In pleading guilty, Burton admitted that he conspired with others to place phone calls from Jamaica to individuals located within the United States, and particularly, to senior citizens residing in the US.

Authorities said the Jamaican scammed one such Oneida County resident on August 17, 2012, telling her she had won a US$250,000 prize, but he needed her to pay associated taxes and fees in order for her to collect the grand prize.

Over the course of the next year, authorities said Burton convinced the woman to send him at least US$107,930 in checks and wire transfers.

Authorities said the money would first go to an intermediary in New York City, before a portion of the money was sent to Burton in Jamaica.

However, the victim never received her purported winnings, which did not exist.

Burton was charged via indictment in 2014, and was successfully extradited to the United States from Jamaica in late November 2018, with the assistance of the United States Department of Justice.

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