Jamaican National Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Elderly Americans Through a Jamaica-Based Lottery Scam
A Jamaican man pleaded guilty in Miami federal court today to participating in a lottery fraud scheme targeting elderly victims in the United States.
According to court documents, Greg Warren Clarke, 29, of Montego Bay, Jamaica, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud for his role in a Jamaica-based fraudulent lottery scheme that convinced American victims – many of whom were elderly – to pay money to collect fictitious lottery winnings. An indictment was filed against Clarke in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in April 2019 and unsealed upon his extradition to the United States, which occurred in May 2022.
“This guilty plea demonstrates the Justice Department’s dedication to prosecuting those responsible for fraudulent lottery schemes, even when they commit their crimes from foreign countries,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We will continue to aggressively combat scams that seek to prey on older Americans.”
“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service stands ready to stop overseas criminals from illegally enriching themselves by using the mail to defraud consumers in the United States,” said Acting Inspector in Charge Juan Vargas of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Miami Division. “We will continue to work with foreign governments to track down these criminals and bring them to justice.”
As part of his guilty plea, Clarke admitted that, from in or around September 2013, through in or around August 2015, he worked with co-conspirators, including Claude Anthony Shaw, in a scheme to defraud in which victims were called and falsely told that they had won over a million dollars in a lottery and needed to pay fees or taxes to claim their winnings. Victims were instructed to send their money through wire transfers or the mail to Shaw and other individuals. Clarke further admitted that, as part of the conspiracy, he and Shaw discussed (over the phone and through cell phone text messages) plans to receive victims’ money. At Clarke’s direction, Shaw received money from victims through wire transfers and the mail. Clarke further admitted that he and Shaw discussed arrangements for victims to send money to other individuals with whom Shaw worked. Clarke then instructed Shaw to send the victims’ money to Clarke in Jamaica, usually through wire transfers. Victims who sent money to Clarke and his co-conspirators never received any lottery winnings.
Shaw previously pleaded guilty to mail fraud in the U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale. In June 2017, he was sentenced to 36 months in prison.
Clarke is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 28.
Senior Trial Attorney Arturo DeCastro of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch is prosecuting this case. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the case.
The department’s extensive and broad-based efforts to combat elder fraud seek to halt the widespread losses seniors suffer from fraud schemes. The best method for prevention, however, is by sharing information about the various types of elder fraud schemes with relatives, friends, neighbors and other seniors who can use that information to protect themselves.
If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is available at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This Department of Justice hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim and identifying relevant next steps. Case managers will identify appropriate reporting agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with appropriate agencies and provide resources and referrals, on a case-by-case basis. Reporting is the first step. Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud, and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering losses. The hotline is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. English, Spanish and other languages are available.
Additional information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts may be found at www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch. Information about the Department of Justice’s Elder Fraud Initiative is available at www.justice.gov/elderjustice.