FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
FRIDAY - March 11, 2011
CANADIAN FUGITIVES ARRESTED
FOR COMPLEX LOTTERY/SWEEPSTAKES SCAM
RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that earlier this month two of three defendants were arrested and extradited from Canada. On March 8, 2011, CLAY ATKINSON, and DAVID STEWART, Canadian citizens residing in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, appeared before United States Magistrate Judge James E. Gates for Initial Appearances. The remaining defendant, JAMAAL MCKENZIE, is pending extradition from Canada to the Eastern District of North Carolina as well.
A Federal Grand Jury returned a 35-count Criminal Indictment on March 5, 2008, charging all three defendants with conspiring to commit offenses against the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371; wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343; mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341; and interstate transportation of stolen property, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2314.
According to the Indictment, from December, 2004, the defendants targeted victims who resided in the United States. The defendants, using fictitious names, false government titles and company names, would call the elderly victims convincing them that they had “won” a large sum of money from a lottery or sweepstakes. The defendants, posing as officials of government agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, and the United States Customs, promised that upon payment of “fees” or “taxes” the victims would be awarded large cash prizes.
The Indictment further alleges that the defendants coordinated the complex scheme by persuading victims to provide money, checks, and goods, via the United States mail or commercial carriers, to the defendants. The money, checks, and goods totaled more than $900,000.
The maximum penalties are as followed: For the conspiracy charge, up to five years’ imprisonment; for each count of mail fraud and wire fraud, up to 30 years’ imprisonment; and for interstate transportation of stolen property, up to ten years’ imprisonment.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
Investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Assistant United States Attorney J. Gaston B. Williams represents the United States in this matter.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.