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Press Release

Jamaican Nationals Sentenced to Federal Prison for Their Roles in Lottery Scam Targeting Elderly Victims

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina --- Two Jamaican nationals – Rojay Lawson, 24, and Theresa Lawson, 53 – were each sentenced to more than five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to their roles in a fraudulent lottery scam that targeted elderly victims around the country.

Evidence presented to the Court showed that, as part of the scheme, the defendants, or their co-conspirators, would contact elderly victims and falsely inform the victims that they had won a sweepstakes.  The supposed prizes in these sweepstakes usually consisted of millions of dollars, a new vehicle, or other valuable items.  The defendants and their co-conspirators would tell the victims that they needed to pay bogus fees and/or taxes in order to collect their purported winnings.

The defendants and their co-conspirators would direct the elderly victims where to send the bogus fees and/or taxes.  Evidence showed victims purchased prepaid cards, USPS money orders, or bank money orders; mailed cash or personal checks; or made wire deposits into the defendants’ bank accounts. The defendants in turn wired the fraudulent funds to co-conspirators in Jamaica.  The defendants received more than $700,000 from the victims they targeted. At least 175 victims suffered a loss as part of the scheme.  Approximately 70 victims were over the age of 80.  The oldest victim was 96 years old.

United States District Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks sentenced both Rojay Lawson and Theresa Lawson to 78 months in federal prison, to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision, in the event they are not deported upon release. There is no parole in the federal system. The defendants were also ordered to pay $405,401.00 in restitution. 

This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Assistant United States Attorneys Emily Limehouse and Amy Bower prosecuted the case.



Brook Andrews, First Assistant United States Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office,, (803) 929-3000

Updated February 2, 2023

Elder Justice
Financial Fraud