Broward County Resident Sentenced In Connection With International Fraud Scheme
A Broward county resident was sentenced by United States District Judge Beth Bloom in Fort Lauderdale to 71 months imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his participation in a fraudulent international lottery scheme that targeted senior citizens living in the United States.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Ronald J. Verrochio, Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service, and Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), made the announcement.
On January 23, 2015, Mikhail Gorbachev George Williams, 26, of Fort Lauderdale, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Williams participated in a fraudulent lottery scheme, emanating from Jamaica, in which elderly victims throughout the United States were falsely told that they had won a lottery/sweepstake contest. Williams and his co-conspirators sent letters and made multiple telephone calls to the victims, wherein they fraudulently claimed to be representatives of the sweepstakes/lottery company that was to award the prize monies. The victims were told that in order to claim their winnings, they had to pay taxes, duties or fees. The co-conspirators directed the victims to pay Williams in order to receive their purported winnings. The elderly victims were induced to send thousands of dollars to cover bogus fees, taxes and insurance for the fraudulent lottery winnings. The victims paid Williams by wire transfers, money orders, U.S. currency, and checks. Payment was made though the U.S. mail and by prepaid debit cards.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and ICE-HSI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bertha R. Mitrani.