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American woman arrested on criminal charges for lottery scam involvement

Published:Saturday | June 20, 2015 | 1:00 PM

An American woman accused of operating a lottery scam for two Jamaican men has been arrested in the United States on multiple criminal charges.

Melinda Bulgin was reportedly arrested in the State of Rhode Island on Tuesday and charged with mail, wire and telemarketing fraud as well as money laundering.

American authorities believe the scam fleeced several elderly victims out of millions of dollars.

According to investigators, Bulgin was collecting money on behalf of Lavrick Willocks and Sanjay Williams, who have been described by US law enforcement authorities as the leaders of two separate Jamaica-based scamming operations.

Williams has already been convicted on lottery-scam related charges in the State of North Dakota and now faces up to 40 years in prison when he is sentenced.

Willocks has been charged, but US authorities say he has not yet been extradited from Jamaica to stand trial.

An affidavit provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigations revealed that an elderly person in the State of Wisconsin was instructed to send cashier's checks for nearly US$34,000 to Bulgin.

And investigators say one victim in the State of Arizona allegedly wired Bulgin US$25,000 after scammers indicated that the money was needed to cover federal taxes for a $5-million prize.