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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Miami-Dade County Resident Arrested in Connection with Jamaica Based Lottery Scam

A Miami-Dade County resident was arrested and charged in a criminal complaint in connection with a Jamaica based lottery scam.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Ronald J. Verrochio, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), and Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), made the announcement.

Rowan George Hemmings, 46, was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail fraud for his role in a Jamaica based telemarketing fraud scheme.

According to the criminal complaint, beginning in or about December 2012, Hemmings’ co-conspirators are alleged to have contacted victims in the U.S. and falsely informed them that they had won a lottery. The co-conspirators told victims they had to pay several thousand dollars in order to collect their purported lottery winnings. The co-conspirators then allegedly instructed the victims on how to send this money, and to whom, including to Hemmings. According to the complaint, the victims never received any lottery winnings.

In January 2013, Hemmings was contacted in Miramar, Florida, by law enforcement regarding a package, which was sent through the mail, containing money from a victim of this fraud. At that time and after being confronted with the fact that he was participating in a lottery fraud scheme, Hemmings signed a “Consent Agreement to Cease and Desist” whereby he voluntarily agreed to stop receiving money from victims of telemarketing fraud.

In January 2015, law enforcement identified a package mailed by another victim of this lottery fraud, addressed to Hemmings in Homestead, Florida. According to the complaint, Hemmings made multiple attempts to receive this package thereby continuing his participation in the lottery fraud and violating the terms of his agreement to Cease and Desist with this activity.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the USPIS, ICE-HSI, U.S. Marshals Service, Broward Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Interdiction Task Force, Miami Dade Police Department Economic Crimes Unit and the Jamaica Constabulary Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bertha R. Mitrani.

In 2008, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Jamaica Constabulary Force established the Project JOLT (Jamaican Operations Linked to Telemarketing) taskforce in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance’s Financial Investigative Unit, and Jamaica Customs (hereinafter, JOLT taskforce). The JOLT taskforce is focused on identifying, disrupting and dismantling the severe increase in Jamaican based telemarketing fraud operations that prey on U.S. senior citizens. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service and U.S. Marshal Service are domestic partners of the JOLT taskforce.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation, and every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Updated March 17, 2015