FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
TUESDAY - September 20, 2011
CANADIAN PLEADS GUILTY TO
COMPLEX LOTTERY/SWEEPSTAKES SCAM
RALEIGH - United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that today CLAYTON ATKINSON, a Canadian citizen residing in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, plead guilty before United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle to conspiring to commit offenses against the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371 and mail fraud, Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341.
According to the Indictment returned on March 5, 2008, from December, 2004, ATKINSON, along with co-defendants Jamaal McKenzie and David Stewart, 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 and involved over 40 victims from the United States.
At sentencing, set for December 19, 2011, ATKINSON faces up to up to five years’ imprisonment for the conspiracy charge and up to 30 years’ imprisonment for the mail fraud.
On August 3, 2011, Stewart pled guilty to conspiring to commit offenses against the United States and mail fraud. His sentencing is currently scheduled for December 19, 2011. McKenzie is awaiting final extradition proceedings from Canada to face trial in the United States.
Investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police with substantial assistance from the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection Division, Telemarketing Fraud Prevention Project. Assistant United States Attorney J. Gaston B. Williams represents the United States in this matter.
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