South Florida Man Pleads Guilty To Mail Fraud In Connection With Jamaican-Based Fraudulent Lottery Scheme
A South Florida resident pleaded guilty for his role in a Jamaican-based fraudulent lottery scheme, the Department of Justice announced today.
Claude Shaw, 49, pleaded guilty in the Southern District of Florida to one count of mail fraud. Shaw was charged in connection with a fraudulent lottery scheme based in Jamaica that induced victims in the United States to send Shaw over $100,000 to cover purported fees for lottery winnings that victims had not won and never received. Sentencing is scheduled on May 31, 2017.
“This case demonstrates the Justice Department’s commitment to combating international lottery fraud schemes based in Jamaica targeting potentially vulnerable individuals,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Financial fraud schemes directed at unsuspecting victims will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
This prosecution is part of the Department of Justice’s effort working with federal and local law enforcement to combat fraudulent lottery schemes preying on American citizens.
Shaw pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud. As part of his guilty plea, Shaw agreed that if this case proceeded to trial, the United States would have proved beyond a reasonable doubt that, from in or around September 2013, through in or around August 20l5, Shaw participated in a scheme to defraud victims in the United States and unlawfully enrich himself. Victims throughout the United States received telephone calls in which they were falsely informed that they had won over a million dollars in a lottery and needed to pay money in advance to claim their winnings. The victims were instructed on how, and to whom, to send their money.
As part of the scheme, victims were instructed to send their money to Shaw. Victims sent over $100,000 to Shaw, who then forwarded a portion of the money to Jamaica. Victims never received any lottery winnings.
“The Postal Inspection Service is committed to investigating fraudulent lottery schemes based in Jamaica directed at ripping off individuals in the United States,” said Inspector in Charge Antonio Gomez of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Miami, Florida Division. “Lottery fraud scams tied to Jamaica are targeting victims in the United States, and we will not allow them to use the U.S. mail to commit their crime.”
Acting Assistant Attorney General Readler commended the investigative efforts of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Arturo DeCastro of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch.
For more information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts, visit its website at http://www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch. For more information about the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, visit its website at https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdfl.