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Press Release

Rochester Man Pleads Guilty In Jamaican Lottery Scam

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051
ROCHESTER, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced today that Charles Hanks, 47, of Rochester, NY, pleaded guilty to mail fraud before U.S. District Judge David G. Larimer. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John J. Field, who is handling the case, stated that Hanks worked with co-defendant Ricky Miller and a Jamaican group in a fraudulent sweepstakes telemarketing scheme that targeted elderly individuals. Victims were called on the telephone and told that they had won a sweepstakes prize or lottery.  Victims were then asked to pay an upfront fee in order to release the purported winnings.

Hanks and Miller agreed to act as a point of contact in the United States to receive the money from the victims and then forward it to Jamaica after taking a substantial cut.  Between January 2012 and September 2013, the victims sent approximately $300,000 to Hanks and Miller.

Ricky Miller was convicted and is awaiting sentencing.

The plea is the culmination of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge James Buthorn, Boston Division.

Sentencing is scheduled for January 5, 2016, at 11:00 am, before Judge Larimer.

Updated September 30, 2015