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J'can man arraigned in US on lottery scam, mail fraud charges

Published:Monday | November 10, 2014 | 12:31 PM

A 31-year-old Jamaican living in the state of Virginia is set to be arraigned today in a US District Court for operating a fraudulent lottery scheme.



The arraignment and detention hearing for Carlos O’Brian Ricketts comes days after a grand jury returned a 27-count federal indictment charging him with mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy.



According to a statement from the US Department of Justice, he was arrested November 4 on a criminal complaint based on his participation in the lottery scheme.



If convicted, Ricketts faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each count.



According to the Justice Department, Ricketts and a co-conspirator, tricked victims into sending thousands of dollars to cover fees for bogus lottery winnings.



And the department says the indictment is part of the government’s crackdown on fraudulent lottery schemes based in Jamaica that target elderly people.



From May 2010, Ricketts’ co-conspirator is alleged to have contacted elderly victims in the United States, claimed to represent a known US sweepstakes company and falsely informed the victims that they had won thousands or millions of dollars in a lottery.



The co-conspirator allegedly told the victims to make payments of several thousand dollars in order to collect their purported prize winnings and instructed the victims to send and wire this money to Ricketts in Virginia.



The victims never received any lottery winnings.



Ricketts allegedly received the money, kept a portion of the money for himself and sent the remainder to individuals in Jamaica.



It’s further alleged that Ricketts sometimes used the alias Kevin Brown when receiving money from victims and sending money to Jamaica.



A US Special Agent says the indictment of the Jamaican marks yet another step against alleged con-artists who prey on elderly US citizens.



Jamaica and US authorities have been coordinating to root out the multimillion-dollar lottery scamming criminal activity.



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