Money laundering and murder in Jamaica lottery scams
More Jamaicans arrested for defrauding US citizens through lottery scam.
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday, May 7, 2012 – Lottery scams are the single most significant contributor to the increase in murders in the St James parish in most recent years.
This startling revelation was made by Assistant Commissioner of Police Carl Williams as he gave a keynote address at a Cybercrimes Act awareness seminar at Iberostar Hotel in Montego Bay recently.
Williams was speaking the same day that police in Jamaica announced the arrest six people accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from United States citizens through a lottery scam.
Saturday's statement from police says that one of the men had more than US$60,000 in an account believed to belong to the victims. Police also seized computers, information on the lottery scam and lists of US victims, with their addresses and other personal information.
The arrests came after police contacted a US victim they say lost $120,000 through the scam. In the first instance, a man and a woman were arrested about Thursday afternoon after the man went to a financial institution to retrieve money from a United States-currency account. In the second instance, four persons, including two women, were arrested by police Friday afternoon.
According to international reports, Jamaica has long operated as a centre for international telemarketing frauds that target elderly Americans and take in roughly US$300 million a year.
ACP Williams told his the seminar attendees that law enforcers were being forced to play catch up to the lottery scammers.
"We are not fighting cyber criminals on a level playing field," he continued. "Similarly, it is difficult to design legislation that will absolutely address the phenomenon. Even as we speak technology is evolving, and with it new opportunities for cybercrime."
The infamous lottery scam has kept both local and international investigators busy since its inception in 2006.
Last week, Superintendent Egbert Parkins told a group of entertainment promoters and stakeholders in St James that no permits will be granted to persons involved in the lottery scam.
"No known lotto scammers who thief money from others for their benefit or gunmen not getting any permit to keep event to go an buy any ammunition or guns to come terrorise the citizens in the city," Parkins told a capacity-filled town hall at the Montego Bay Civic Centre.