Jamaican Citizen Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Elderly Albany Couple
ALBANY, NEW YORK – Kevin R. Palmer, age 37, a Jamaican citizen residing in Suwanee, Georgia, pled guilty today to stealing more than $320,000 from an elderly Albany couple in a mail-based prize scam.
The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Joseph Cronin, Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Boston Division.
Palmer pled guilty to 1 count of mail fraud conspiracy and 12 counts of mail fraud. He admitted that in 2017, R.H. and D.H., an elderly couple residing in Albany County, were contacted through the mail and by telephone, and were told that they needed to send money in order to obtain an inheritance and tax refund, and claim lottery and sweepstakes prize money.
As instructed, R.H. and D.H. mailed bank checks to addresses in Georgia, including Palmer’s address. They mailed a total of 12 checks; 10 of these checks were payable to Palmer, and all 12 were deposited into bank accounts for which Palmer was a signatory. Palmer admitted that his role in the fraudulent scheme was to receive checks sent by R.H. and D.H., deposit them, and distribute the proceeds (totaling $321,342) among the participants to the scheme.
Palmer, who is in custody, faces up to 20 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine, when United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino sentences him on July 25, 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. Palmer may also be ordered to pay restitution to his victims. Additionally, as a result of his guilty plea, Palmer’s lawful permanent resident status in the United States may be revoked, and he may be removed to Jamaica.
This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, with assistance from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett.
Fraudsters routinely use the U.S. Mail to falsely inform victims that they have to pay “fees” or “taxes” in order to receive a tax refund, lottery or sweepstakes prize, or inheritance. These scams often target the elderly. To learn how to detect and avoid these scams, please visit the web site of the Federal Trade Commission, at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0199-prize-scams.