Jamaican Defendant Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud for Lottery Scam that Defrauded Elderly Victims
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Kristoff Cain, a Jamaican national, pleaded guilty in federal court today before United States District Judge Cathy Bissoon to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that from in and around September 2013, and continuing thereafter until in and around April 2018, Kristoff Cain knowingly and willfully conspired with others to engage in a scheme to defraud elderly victims by contacting them by phone and through a variety of other means to inform them that they had won large cash prizes in a lottery and that the victims needed to send money to specified addresses or recipients to pay taxes or other assessments in order to claim the cash prizes. Additionally, the defendant and other individuals associated with the conspiracy also contacted certain other victims by telephone; represented themselves to be law enforcement officers, and informed the victims that they needed to send money to specified addresses or recipients in connection with investigations involving the individuals’ bank accounts. The defendant, and other persons associated with the conspiracy, well knew that the victims were not associated with any lottery or cash prize award, and that they were not involved in any law enforcement investigation involving the relevant bank accounts, and that the victims did not need to send money to the specified addresses or recipients.
The court was also advised that the amount of loss attributable to Kristoff Cain as part of his scheme and artifice to defraud was more than $250,000, and that the victims who were defrauded as a result of his conduct were unusually vulnerable due to age. Specifically, the defendant and other individuals associated with the conspiracy targeted multiple victims over the age of 80, and induced them to send money via wire transactions and other means to addresses specified by the defendant. The court was further advised that Kristoff Cain was a manager of the conspiracy and directed his co-conspirators’ extensive criminal activity.
Judge Bissoon set sentencing for April 7th, 2020 at 10 a.m. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of not more than three years. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant. Cain has been detained since his initial appearance and will remain detained pending sentencing.
Assistant United States Attorney Christopher M. Cook is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.