Jamaican Lottery Boiler Room Investigation
Jamaican Lottery Scam Victimizes Elderly Woman
IOWA - 02/06 - Mildred Rice daily receives many phone calls from
Jamaica, and it's not because she is trying to plan a white-sand
vacation in the Caribbean.
It's not unusual for Rice, who is 80 years old and has been taking
care of her 102-year-old mother for the last five years, to receive
as many as 30 calls a day. Her caller ID shows that most of the
calls are "out of area" or from Jamaica.
"The calls have driven us about crazy," Rice said.
Calls and letters from supposed foreign lotteries in places such
as Europe, China, Australia and British Columbia have flooded her
home after she began talking with foreign scammers. Since then,
she has sent nearly $9,000 of her life savings in hopes of getting
rich to help her family.
It all started in August 2005 when a man with a Jamaican accent
who called himself Detective Weldon called to tell Rice that she
had won $2.5 million in a Reader's Digest sweepstakes.
"I thought, 'hot dog! What a wonderful thing,' " Rice
She knew she hadn't entered any contest, but the person on the
phone told her because she was a magazine customer, she was automatically
entered to win.
"Then, he told me I needed to send $1,800 to make sure I
got the money," she said.
Later, another person identifying himself as a detective called to ask
if she could help catch foreign scammers.
"I thought I was helping," Rice said.
When the "detective" called, he would tell her where
to send the $300. The plan was that the scammer would go to pick
up the money, and the "detective" would be there to apprehend
him. Each time Rice helped catch a scammer, she was supposed to
get $15,000 in return.
"I sent them money thinking they were catching the bad guys," she
So she sent the money through Western Union to where the man
told her. Her children, who live in Washington State, had no idea
that their mother was waiting for millions of dollars with excitement.
"I was going to surprise everybody," Rice said. "Then
I could help all the kids."
Meanwhile, the phone kept ringing with more sweepstakes offers,
and Rice began to wonder when the money she allegedly had won was
going to start arriving.
"They never sent me a dime back," Rice said.
In November, she went to Washington State to visit her family
and celebrate her birthday. That's when her son, Daryl Rice, and
her daughters noticed she was receiving several calls a day. She
was reluctant to tell Daryl, but contacted the Ames Police Department.
"The police officer told me not to send (the frauds) any
more money because they weren't going to send any to me back ...
but (the frauds) kept promising me, and I thought it was real," Rice
Rice said the men who called her spoke to her with a gentle attitude,
told her how nice and wonderful she was and that she deserved to win.
Finally, when her son visited her home in Gilbert in December,
he realized what was happening.
"Mom does fine on her own, except for financial stuff," he said.
That's when Daryl installed a caller ID on the phone so she would
know when not to answer. Rice's mother wouldn't allow her to change
the phone number.
Also, when he looked at her two bank account statements, Daryl
noticed periodic withdrawals of $399. Rice isn't certain, but she
either gave her bank account information to the people who called
her or someone stole her identity information to steal from her
Daryl and his mother worked together to get him general power
of attorney. He worked with the banks to get her account numbers
changed and is monitoring her accounts on-line from Washington.
There haven't been withdrawals since then, and Rice said she doesn't
answer the phone if it is an out-of-area call.
"It's really been hard ... but I finally quit sending them
money about a month ago," Rice said. "I am embarrassed
... especially knowing I was dumb enough to get scammed."
Lottery Scam Victim Commits Suicide
01/08 - New Jersey - The day Ann Mowle was finally going to be
rewarded, she anticipated that someone would knock on her door
at the Rossmoor adult community in Monroe and give her her prize
"She told us it was going to be a Publishers Clearing House
thing," said Monroe Detective Robert Bennett, referring to
scenes taped for television ads, when Publishers Clearing House
delivers a fat check to an unsuspecting winner.
However, when police arrived at Mowle's home they soon realized
she was the victim of an elaborate lottery scam, and warned her
to ignore the calls and pleas for money.
She would not listen, said Bennett. "In her mind she knew
it was wrong, but she was still committed and obsessed with this
On Oct. 31 she drove to Spring Lake, and apparently jumped into
the ocean. The following day two fishermen found her body adjacent
to a jetty. Her death was ruled a suicide. When investigators tallied
her losses to the lottery scam they pegged the figure at $248,000.
Bennett recalled visiting Mowle's home, the day she thought she
was going to strike it rich. The home was immaculate, he said.
There was no indication Mowle was suffering from dementia. After
her death police found a tidy pile of records on her dining room
table, documenting her dealings with the lottery scam.
People in the scam were so brazen, said Bennett, that they did
not hang up the phone, when they called while police were at Mowle's
"I spoke to these Jamaican lottery guys, and they laughed
at me. They said, "You can't do anything about it,"'
After the visit police contacted Mowle's son and daughter, and
told them how their mother was the obvious victim of a scam.
"We notified them and said they should keep an eye on her
finances. That was the last time we dealt with her," said
The money was sent in the form of a money order, or in a Western
Union wire transfer, according to Bennett.
The scam began in October 2006 when she received a letter in the
mail informing her she had won $2.5 million. However, in order
to collect she had to pay $18,000 in upfront fees. Once she paid
the operators of the scam kept asking for more.
The day she expected to receive the prize at her front door, she
was told the money was being delayed while it was held up at a
customs' office at the airport.
According to Bennett she had money in an annuity, and pleaded
with the bank to allow her to withdraw more than was allowed, telling
bank officials she needed the money to pay for cancer treatment.
Home News Tribune
International Sweepstakes and Lottery Scam
02/07 - Jamaica police investigating an international sweepstakes
and lottery scam, were last night interrogating a 19-year-old St
James woman to determine how she came to have $1 million in cash
in her possession.
After news of the police operation spread, the question on the
lips of Montegonians was where did such a young woman get so much
The woman, Sheneika Headley gave her address as Westgate Hills,
an upscale residential district near this north coast tourist resort
city. The police were also attempting to freeze an account belonging
to Headley which contains another large but undisclosed sum of
She was charged with unlawful possession of property and hauled
before the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate Court, where she was
offered bail in the sum of $250,000 by Judge Winsome Henry.
Headley was among 30 persons nabbed in a massive sweep of 13 locations
in Hanover and St James, staged by a combined seven police units
backed by the army just before dawn Thursday.
Thursday's operation was carried out by cops from Operation Kingfish,
the Fraud Squad, Financial Investigation Division, Special Anti-Crime
Task Force, Mobile Reserve, Organized Crime Division, and Area
One, assisted by the Jamaica Defense Force.
Nine motor vehicles, over $1 million in cash, a number of computers,
cellular phones, and what Inspector Steve Brown, the communications
officer for Operation Kingfish described as "interesting documents
that will lead us very far in the investigations", were seized.
Explaining how the multi-million dollar sweepstakes and lottery
scam worked, police said tricksters obtain the names and addresses
of telemarketing customers who purchase sweepstakes tickets online.
The racketeers then contact these customers by telephone and inform
them that they have won the lottery. These persons would then be
told to pay processing fees of up to US$5,000.
Headley and several other alleged players in the racket will be
transferred to Kingston today to be further interrogated by the
Fraud Squad in the case of suspected fraud.
Meanwhile, Minister of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce,
Phillip Paulwell, who met in Montego Bay with top-ranking members
of the Area One police and ICT industry officials who had expressed
concern over the scam three weeks ago, congratulated the police
on the operation.
"I want to congratulate the police and I pledge the industry's
full support in bringing those guilty to justice," Minister
Paulwell told the Observer in a telephone interview afterward.
Paulwell noted that in light of the scam, investors in the IT
sector were threatening to pull their operations out of Montego
"Cabinet recently approved measures to be taken to Parliament
in the form of Cyber Crime Law that will ensure that such persons,
in future, will be receive severe criminal sanctions," he
Source: Jamaica Observer
10/06 - MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica - A man accused of
murdering two men following an alleged telemarketing scam that
went sour will face the court next week.
The man, Zetroy Jones, a 23-year-old unemployed of Tucker here
in St James, has been charged with the murder of Jason Stephenson
and Ezekiel Williams.
In the meantime, the police said two other men who were believed
to be involved in the alleged fraud scheme were fatally shot by
cops in separate shoot-outs last Saturday.
The two, Ricardo Gordon, 20, and Jason Henry, also 20, both of
Tucker, St James, were shot and killed by the police in Montego
Bay and Westmoreland, respectively. The police said a firearm was
taken from the body of each following the gunfight.
According to Inspector Paul Bernard, the deputy crime chief in
St James, the telecommunication scam was widespread in the city
and has been of major concern to the police. He said that a number
of persons, including gangsters, were involved in the illegal activity.
In the meantime, police sources said the mastermind behind the
scam, Jason Stephenson, had connections with employees inside the
call centres of the Montego Bay Free Zone, which collected money
on behalf of persons involved in sweepstake and other games.
Stephenson, the police sources said, obtained the names and addresses
of telemarketing customers who purchase sweepstake tickets online,
then passes them on to his cronies.
The racketeers would then contact these customers by telephone
and inform them that they had won the lottery. These persons would
then be requested to pay processing fees.
However, last month things took a sour turn after Stephenson allegedly
passed information to one of his accomplices who had made arrangement
to collect a US$6,000 "processing fee" from a customer.
It is alleged that when the person turned up at the Western Union
branch to collect the money, he was informed that another person
had already done so.
Stephenson was later tortured by men who severed his head, then
$1 million fine for lotto scam artist
11/07 - Jamaica - A St. Ann man, who was involved
in the Jamaican lottery sweepstakes scam which resulted in a large
number of overseas residents being deceived into sending thousands
of US dollars to Jamaica to claim their fictitious winnings, has
been fined $1 million and also given a suspended sentence.
He is Wilford Doyle, 21, of Discovery Bay, St. Ann.
Doyle pleaded guilty on Tuesday in the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's
Court to a money laundering offence under the Proceeds of Crime
Doyle admitted that he was engaged in transactions involving criminal
Resident Magistrate Winsome Henry fined Doyle $1 million and in
addition gave him a one-year-suspended sentence after he pleaded
guilty to receiving US$13,100 from one of the victims. Doyle was
arrested and charged following investigations carried out by the
Financial Investigations Division.
The RM, in passing sentence, said "This type of white-collar
crime is as equally destructive as violent crimes."
After Doyle pleaded guilty, attorney-at-law Amina Maknoon, who
represented the Assets Recovery Agency, applied to RM Henry for
an order for the matter to be committed to the Supreme Court for
an application to be made for the forfeiture of Doyle's benefit
from his criminal lifestyle. The RM granted the order.
The Assets Recovery Agency made an application yesterday in the
Supreme Court for the freezing, detention and custody of Doyle's
known assets, including millions of dollars held in several bank
accounts and a Honda CRV, as well as an order requiring several
financial institutions to disclose information about Doyle that
they have in their possession.
Justice Roy Anderson granted the orders after hearing submissions
from Ms. Maknoon.
The applications for the forfeiture of Doyle's benefit from his
criminal lifestyle, which were granted yesterday, are the first
of their kind to be made in Jamaica under the Proceeds of Crime
The infamous Montego Bay 'lotto scam', which is being blamed for
the western city's intolerable murder rate, is said to be the cause
of the death of Ann Mowle, a 72-year-old United States grandmother,
who recently committed suicide.
According to a report in last Wednesday's edition of the New Jersey-based
Hardbeat News, a Caribbean diaspora newspaper, Ms. Mowle, who had,
reportedly, become depressed after losing her life-savings to the
Jamaican-based scam, apparently took her life after failing in
her bid to recover her money.
Mowle's body was, reportedly, found at the edge of a jetty at
the Worthington Avenue beach in Spring Lake, in New Jersey, two
According to relatives of the deceased woman, she had spent her
entire life savings of US$248,000 trying to collect US$2.5million,
which Jamaican scam artists had told her she had won.
After spending the last several months trying to reclaim her money,
which she had sent to Jamaica via some 50 wire transfers, ranging
from US$158 to US$4,750, relatives said Mowle became frustrated
and depressed by her lack of success and committed suicide.
The lottery scam, which was all the rage in Montego Bay last year
and had several communities awash with cash, is perpetuated by
persons (diallers), who use illicitly-obtained personal information
about American citizens to con them into sending them money on
the pretext that they had won a lottery and needed to send them
money to clear their winnings.
"We are aware of the scam and we have identified some of
the players," Assistant Commissioner of Police Denver Frater
told The Gleaner, prior to a major Kingfish operation in Montego
Bay late last year, which netted 10 persons said to be major players
in the scam.
During a bloody rampage in Montego Bay last year, during which
at least five persons were beheaded, the police blamed the violence
on the scam and said the heavy weaponry in the city's criminal
gangs were procured through funding from the scam.
With investors in Montego Bay information technology sector, whose
operations were being compromised by the scam, threatening to pull
out of Jamaica late last year, the Government declared an intention
to take measures to Parliament to enact a cyber crime Law to battle
Jamaican Lottery Scam articles