Assault on scamming

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5,000 cases involving Jamaicans are currently being investigated in the multimillion-dollar lottery scam, which has bilked United States citizens, mainly seniors, of more than US$5.6 million. “There are thousands of cases being investigated right now; hundreds of cases have already been prosecuted internationally and here in Jamaica. We have hundreds of extraditions pending in the United States, and we expect to see a steady flow of people going up to the United States to face justice for this crime,” Joshua Polacheck, counsellor for public affairs at the United States Embassy in Kingston, told journalists yesterday as Jamaica extradited its largest batch of alleged scammers, who were flown from the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston to North Dakota under heavy security.

“Right now we have dozens of extradition cases that are already at the extradition level, and another 300 to 500 cases that are at the pre-extradition stage, so between the Jamaican investigation and the investigation in the United States we are looking at as much as 3,000 to 5,000 active investigations,” Polacheck added. He said, however, that he could not say how many people in total were being investigated as some cases overlapped.

The shocking revelation of the extent of the illegal scheme came yesterday as eight alleged offenders, believed to be members of one of the country’s largest lottery scamming syndicates, led by alleged mastermind Lavric Willocks, were extradited to the United States to face charges.

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