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Jamaican lottery scams
Using figures from the Federal Trade Commission in the United States of America (USA), CaPRI, the Director of Public Prosecutions says Jamaica could be receiving up to US$80 million per annum from the scam. Paula Llewellyn, has called for the implementation of an Advance Fee Fraud Act which would help to clamp down on persons involved in the multi-million dollar lottery scam.
The Advance Fee Fraud Act is currently used in Nigeria to combat criminal activities which are similar to the lottery scam.
Llewellyn who was speaking at a forum on the lottery scam on Wednesday also disclosed that currently there is no criminal charge that specifically refers to the scam.
Persons suspected to be involved in the lottery scam are largely charged under the Larceny Act, the Unlawful Possession of Property Act, and the Proceeds of Crime Act, (POCA).
The DPP also hit out at professionals in the society, who she says help to facilitate lottery scammers.
“Very often you find that the scammers are in league with professionals in the system, bankers, maybe some lawyers, police officers, business people who will all walk around looking like the exemplars of probity and what somebody having a good morale compass should have. But when you go below the surface, the only way that the scammer is able to achieve success and actually launder their monies is to be in conspiracy with these other professionals.”
She welcomed plans by the government to introduce amendments to the Evidence Act, which would provide for video links to be used in court.
This would allow for the introduction of spoken evidence made by victims of the scam who live overseas. .
According to a research paper by the Caribbean Policy and Research Institute (CaPRI). 90 per cent of the victims being conned by lottery scammers are not reporting that they have been duped, The data indicated that "non-disclosure" made it difficult to determine the actual level of funds being channeled to Jamaica through the illegal activity.
Using figures from the Federal Trade Commission in the United States of America (USA), CaPRI said Jamaicans may be receiving up to US$80 million per annum from the scam, but noted that this was a conservative figure, given the high underreporting among victims.
The data is one of several key findings presented by the institute at the Lottery Scam Forum organised by the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) in Kingston on Wednesday.
According to the research, most victims reside in areas of the United States where there is a high Jamaican population, especially in New York, New Jersey and Florida, and that victims risked their savings and social security payouts, ostensibly, for large sums of cash they believe they won in a "lottery" or the right to claim the fortune of someone who recently died.