Two Sentenced in Lottery Scams that Defrauded Seniors
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Two Jamaican citizens who participated in lottery scams that defrauded U.S citizens, primarily senior citizens in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and several other states, of more than a half-million dollars, have been sentenced to federal prison, announced Acting United States Attorney Richard B. Myrus.
Unsuspecting victims were contacted by scammers and told they had won large sums of money in a lottery but were required to pre-pay taxes or fees in order to collect their winnings. In some instances, tens, and even hundreds of thousands of dollars were paid by unsuspecting victims into bank accounts controlled by Jason Wedderburn, 41, and Kayan Kitson, 38.
Wedderburn was sentenced today by U.S District Court Judge Mary S. McElroy to a term of incarceration of 36 months to be followed by 3 years of federal supervised release. Kayan was sentenced on October 12, 2021, to 30 months of incarceration to be followed by 3 years of federal supervised release.
According to information presented to the court, an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service determined that beginning in May 2018, Wedderburn and Kitson conspired together and with others in Jamaica and in the United States to defraud U.S. citizens through a lottery scam. As part of the conspiracy, Wedderburn opened and controlled at least four bank accounts through which victim funds passed. Kitson opened at least one bank account for the same purpose. Once ill-gotten funds were deposited, members of the conspiracy in the United States and in Jamaica withdrew cash or transferred proceeds to other accounts controlled by members of the conspiracy.
No lottery winnings were ever paid to any of the individuals contacted by the scammers. According to court documents, some victims were bilked out of tens of thousands of dollars. One Massachusetts victim was defrauded of more than $325,000. In total, victims were defrauded of more than $700,000. Wedderburn and Kayan, detained since their arrest in Florida in August 2020, pleaded guilty in July in U.S. District Court in Providence to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
The cases were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sandra R. Hebert with the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine D. Lowell.
Acting United States Attorney Myrus thanks the FBI for its assistance with this case.
Updated November 16, 2021
Press Release Number: 21-122