On Friday this week, the U.S Department of Justice announced that a man by the name Claude Shaw from Miramar, Florida has been sentenced to 3 years in prison and to 3 years of supervised release for running a fraudulent lottery scheme that was based in Jamaica. He was also ordered to pay $128,440 in restitution. Claude pleaded guilty in March to his crimes. He confessed that between September 2013 and August 2015, he participated in the scheme to defraud U.S victims to enrich himself.

How Claude committed the crime

Claude made telephone calls to victims in the U.S from Jamaica to inform them they had won $1 million is a lottery.

To receive their winnings, victims were told to pay a certain amount of money. Victims sent over $100,000 to Claude who then sent a portion of the money to Jamaica. Victims never received any lottery winnings after sending the money that was demanded. An inspector working at the U.S Postal Inspection service in Miami Florida stated that there are similar lottery schemes such as this based in Jamaica that target U.S victims and are using U.S mailing services to defraud victims.

Recent lottery scams in the United States

According to usa.gov, common scams in the U.S include housing scams, telephone scams, charity scams, IRS imposter scams, ticket scams, pyramid schemes and lottery scams.

Last month, Michigan police notified the public through the media of a new scam in the area. The police said criminals are sending victims award notifications with the victim's name as the winner of a significant amount of money. The criminals then inform victims that the lottery is designed to promote the U.S, U.K and E.U governments and other international lottery institutions ahead of the Commonwealth games in 2018. For the mega lottery to look legitimate, the criminals ensure that multiple fake signatures and stamps appear on the winning notice form, they also give their contact information so that the victim could be informed on how to collect their money.

Winners are told to either travel to Madrid, Spain or to have their money delivered to their home or sent to their banking accounts.

Last month, four Jamaicans were charged in the state of North Dakota for their involvement in a multi-million-dollar Lottery Scam that defrauded at least 90 Americans mostly elderly. The criminals collected $5.7 million from their victims. 15 people were arrested for their involvement in the scam.

In mid-March this year, an elderly couple in New York lost $40,000 after they were told they had won U.S $2.5 million and a brand new car.

To receive the price money, the couple had to pay tax on their prize money by sending cash, checks and Apple electronics. Investigators said that the criminal involved mostly used Jamaican phone numbers to contact the victims. One news report from Jamaica called such schemes prevalent.

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