WASHINGTON, United States, Wednesday February 13, 2019 – A Jamaican lottery scammer who tried to extort tens of thousands of dollars from the only person to head both the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has been jailed in the United States.
Keniel Aeon Thomas pleaded guilty to the extortion charge and was given a six-year prison term by Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the district court in Washington.
The matter involving 94-year-old ex-FBI and CIA director William Webster, and his wife, Lynda, was one of several scams Thomas was involved in, the judge noted, as she pointed out that he had more than 30 victims and had collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from them.
In his attempt to extort the Websters in 2004, Thomas had called their home several times, identifying himself as David Morgan from a company called Mega Millions. In the first call, which was answered by Mr Webster – who was also a federal district and appellate judge in the 1970s – Thomas told him he had won US$72 million and a Mercedez-Benz and just needed to wire US$50,000 to cover taxes to collect.
The next day, he reached Mr Webster again but the elderly man told him he didn’t have the money. In two subsequent calls, which were answered by Mrs Webster, Thomas said she needed to pay US$6,000 or he’d kill her and her husband.
But given the former law enforcement top official’s background, he and his wife had got the FBI involved, and that eventually led authorities to Thomas in late 2017. The Jamaican was arrested as he disembarked a plane in New York.
At Thomas’ sentencing, judge Howell commended Webster – the third director of the FBI who then moved to the CIA’s top position in 1987 – and his wife for their quick thinking in the matter.
However, she questioned why the Justice Department hadn’t brought Thomas to justice sooner after the Websters’ ordeal, for which prosecutors filed a criminal complaint.
Before his sentence was handed down, Thomas turned to the couple sitting in the courtroom and said: “I really didn’t mean to hurt you guys.”
“We [Jamaican people] love you guys. We love tourists,” he added, as he faced the couple who had often travelled to his homeland but say they are now afraid to visit.
After he serves his sentence, Thomas will be deported to Jamaica.