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Press Release

Jamaican Citizen Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Mail and Wire Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York
Sanjay Burton’s (a/k/a Michael Peart) Victims Included Elderly Americans

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Sanjay Burton a/k/a Michael Peart, age 34, and a citizen of Jamaica, pled guilty today to conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud, from September 2011 to May 2014.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Boston Division, Joseph Cronin; and Acting New York State Police Superintendent Keith Corlett.

In pleading guilty, Burton admitted that he conspired with others to place phone calls from Jamaica to individuals located within the United States, and particularly, to senior citizens residing in the United States. During these calls, Burton would advise the victims that they had won large sums of money in a sweepstakes, lottery, or other event.  Burton would then advise the victims that they must first pay taxes or fees in order to collect the winnings.  Burton made false promises to the victims that once they paid these taxes or fees, the winnings would be delivered to them. 

Burton admitted that in August 2012, he contacted a victim located in Oneida County, New York, and advised her that she had won a $250,000 prize, but that to collect the prize, she would need to pay the associated taxes and fees.  This particular victim then wired money to a third party in New York City, who in turn, wired a portion of that money along to Burton in Jamaica.  Over the course of the next year, Burton admitted that he caused the victim to send, via mail, Federal Express, or Western Union, at least $107,930.00 in United States currency, to him directly, or to receivers acting on his behalf, as “payment” for taxes or fees on the victim’s purported prize winnings. The victim never received her purported winnings, which did not exist. 

Burton was charged via indictment in 2014, and was successfully extradited to the United States from Jamaica in late November 2018, with the assistance of the United States Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs. 

Burton pled guilty to one count of conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud, and faces up to 20 years in prison, a term of post-release supervision of up to 3 years, and a fine of up to $250,000, when he is sentenced by Senior United States District Judge Norman A. Mordue on July 15, 2019. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors. 

This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the New York State Police, and the United States Marshals Service, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine A. King.

Updated March 15, 2019

Elder Justice
Financial Fraud