US citizen arrested in Jamaican lottery scam

“Predators tied to Jamaican lottery fraud often seek to exploit vulnerable individuals in our society,” inspector in charge of the US Postal Inspection Service’s Miami, Florida Division Antonio Gomez said.

lotter scamA 49-year-old American man has been arrested in Miramar, Florida, following the return of a 12-count indictment against him by a grand jury in the Southern District of Florida in relation to wire fraud and a lottery scam with Jamaican links.

According to a release from the Department of Justice yesterday, Claude Shaw, also known as “Mac” and “Claude Mac”, a US citizen who lives in Florida, was charged with two counts of mail fraud and 10 counts of wire fraud.

The indictment alleged that victims throughout the United States received telephone calls informing them that they had won more than a US$1 million in a lottery and needed to pay upfront fees to claim their winnings. The grand jury charged that victims were instructed how and to whom to send their money to Shaw and others through wire transfers and the US Postal Service.

“These charges demonstrate our commitment to combating international lottery fraud, especially efforts to target potentially vulnerable individuals. Financial schemes like these interfere with Americans’ financial security and will not be tolerated,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.

Shaw is further accused of discussing plans via text messages to receive victims’ money, and after receiving said funds, he would send a portion to accomplices in Jamaica, but the victims never received any lottery winnings.

Five of the 10 wire fraud counts are based on money Shaw is said to have wired from the United States to someone in Jamaica. If convicted, he faces a statutory maximum term of 20 years in prison on each count.

“Predators tied to Jamaican lottery fraud often seek to exploit vulnerable individuals in our society,” inspector in charge of the US Postal Inspection Service’s Miami, Florida Division Antonio Gomez said.

The Jamaican authorities last year reconstituted the Anti-Lottery Scam Taskforce, which was set up after Parliament passed tough new laws in 2013, including the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transactions) (Special Provisions) Act 2013, commonly called the Lotto Scam Act. A Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) office has also been set up in Jamaica to help fight lottery scamming and other crimes.

“The price is too high, with broken families, broken communities, and a country whose brand is being damaged,” National Security Minister Robert Montague said at a ceremony held at the National Police College in St Catherine late last year. He advised that the Government would be amending more laws, and focusing on intensifying training for police officers to effectively counter the lottery scam.

Under the Lotto Scam legislation, it is an offence to: obtain any property or induce any person to confer any benefit on any person by false pretence; knowingly conduct a financial transaction with the proceeds of an offence; and invite or otherwise induce a person to visit Jamaica for the purpose of committing an offence under the Act. Additionally, changes to the Evidence Act enables victims of lottery scams to give anonymous video testimony, eliminating the need for them to come to Jamaica to testify.

Leave a Reply