US officials close to wrapping up Jamaica lottery-scam investigations

(Jamaica Gleaner) There are indications that United States (US) law-enforcement personnel could be close to wrapping up their investigations of several Jamaicans who are considered major players in the lottery scam.

While not divulging details, Assistant Commissioner of Police Carl Williams, who heads the Major Organised Crime Anti-Corruption Task Force (MOCA), said in recent weeks Jamaican law-enforcement personnel have had “a number of meetings” with their counterparts in the US.

“They are going to supply us with evidence from overseas and we are going to be seeking to either prosecute them (scammers) locally or overseas,” Williams told The Gleaner.

“They (US authorities) have been doing their work over there and we have been working closely with them,” he added.

In September, National Security Minister Peter Bunting revealed that several persons suspected of being involved in the lottery scam would soon be extradited to face criminal charges overseas.

Bunting said then that law-enforcement personnel from overseas were working on a number of cases.

The push to have suspected lottery scammers prosecuted overseas comes because there is no specific legislation in Jamaica that outlaws scamming and because other jurisdictions such as the US provide stiff penalties.

More aggressive 2013

Williams warned that come 2013, the Lottery Scam Task Force will be much more aggressive in going after those involved in the scam. He said the task force was being refocused to pursue the extradition of the major players who are wanted by US authorities.

“We are going to be working much more closely with federal agents from the United States to bring the scammers to account for their crimes,” Williams said.

“I expect that law enforcement, this year (2013), will have a very good year against the scammers and we are going to be using everything in our arsenal, including extradition,” he warned. The task force will also be brought “much closer” to MOCA.

“It was always operated as a separate entity, but it is going to be subsumed now under the broader MOCA operations, so they will have much more support from MOCA,” he explained.

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