Brooklyn residents arrested in international lottery fraud scheme
BUFFALO, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr., announced today that four men were arrested this morning in Brooklyn, N.Y., and charged by criminal complaint with participating in a fraudulent lottery scheme being operated from Jamaica. The scheme targeted elderly citizens throughout the United States, including two seniors living in Western New York. Under arrest are: Corey Buddle, Orlando Buddle, and Otis Ricketts, all of Brooklyn, and Horace Buddle, of Montego Bay, Jamaica. The defendants are charged with conspiring to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. The charges each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and fines up to $500,000.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Fauzia K. Mattingly, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, the defendants conspired with others to defraud senior citizens by luring them into believing that they had won millions of dollars in the lottery, as well as a Mercedes Benz in many cases in exchange for fees paid up front. The scheme typically utilized contact by mail, telephone or fax and also involved high pressure tactics and threats to coerce the victims to send money. In one instance, a victim was threatened with legal action possible arrest if she did not make payments to the defendants.
In response to the false claims made by the defendants, victims sent payments of more than $275,000 to a residence in Brooklyn or to designated bank accounts between March 2011 and June 2013. Additional payments of unknown amounts were sent by victims to the same address in Brooklyn. According to the complaint, at least 10 elderly victims were identified by law enforcement officials, and there are believed to be others who have been victimized by this scheme. The victims include an 83 year man from Buffalo and a 71 year old man from Rochester. Some of the funds acquired from victims in the United States were transported to Jamaica, or otherwise transferred out of the country by wire transactions or ATM withdrawals at locations in Jamaica.
“We often say if it sounds too good to be true it probably is,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “In this case, 10 elderly victims were promised millions of dollars and luxury cars in exchange for a fee. If they did not pay up, they were threatened. If you are approached about participating in a lottery and are asked to submit money, you need to think twice. And, if you are ever threatened with legal action or arrest, contact the proper authorities. For more information, go to www.stopfraud.gov.”
The defendants are scheduled to appear today in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.
The criminal complaint is the result of an investigation on the part of the United States Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector In Charge Kevin Niland of the Boston Division, and Special Agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero.The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.