Five get off lotto scam rap
Five people who were accused of being part of a lottery scam ring that fleeced a United States citizen of more than US$100,000 were on Thursday freed of various offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) when they appeared in the Westmoreland Parish Court.
Shauna-Ann Maxam, Paulette Tomlinson, Neville Smith, Omar Pinnock, and Ansford Miller were freed after their lawyers made a no-case submission, which was accepted by the judge.
The five were charged for conspiracy to defraud, possession of criminal property, bringing criminal property in Jamaica, and engaging in transactions involving criminal property.
They were charged along with the alleged ring leader, 32-year-old Romaine Jarrett, who was held earlier in April at the Sangster International Airport after eluding the police since 2015.
According to allegations, a 56-year-old American reported that in October 2010, he received a phone call from a person called Jerry who told him that he had won US$2.5 million.
The complainant was also reportedly informed that in order for him to receive the lottery payout, he would have to pay Internal Revenue Service taxes.
Consequently, the complainant said he started sending money to Jerry and various persons in Jamaica.
According to him, on one occasion, he met a Jamaican female who had travelled to California and gave her approximately US$30,000 to take back to Jerry in Jamaica.
It was alleged that during the period, the complainant sent a total of more than US$100,000 to Jamaica.
The complainant, however, was unable to identify the female he had met in California, nor could he remember her name. He was also unable to recall the names of the persons to whom he had sent funds.
At the close of the Crown’s case, the attorneys for the defendants made a no-case submission on the basis that there was no link between the defendants and the alleged scheme as the complainant had failed to identify any of the defendants as being involved in the scam.
Attorney-at-law, Peter Champagnie, QC, represented Maxam, while Smith was the client of Samoi Campbell. Michael Erskine represented Pinnock.
Attorneys-at-law Denly Saddoo and Oniel Brown represented Miller and Tomlinson, respectively.
In the meantime, Jarrett’s case is scheduled to be mentioned in September.