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Jamaican woman indicted in US for impersonating FBI agent

Published:Sunday | March 6, 2016 | 3:15 PM

A 30-year-old Jamaican woman has been indicted by a US federal grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia for impersonating a Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) special agent in connection with the lottery scam.

VaniaLee Allen was reportedly charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and falsely impersonating an employee of the United States Government. If convicted, Allen faces a statutory maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison for the wire fraud count; up to five years for the conspiracy count and up to three years for the false impersonation count.

According to the indictment, Allen and an unidentified co-conspirator in Jamaica sought to unlawfully enrich themselves through a fraudulent lottery scheme targeting an elderly resident of Evans, Georgia.

It is reported that Allen’s co-conspirator falsely informed the victim by phone that he had won money in a lottery and instructed him to make payments to various people in order to collect the purported lottery winnings.

In order to gain the trust of the victim and induce him to continue to make payments, Allen travelled from Jamaica to the United States in May 2015 and falsely portrayed herself to the victim as an FBI agent.

According to the indictment, Allen had sent a number of text messages to her co-conspirator in Jamaica discussing the plan to impersonate an FBI agent.The text message attached an image of a law enforcement style badge with an “FBI” logo and the words “Federal Bureau of Investigation” on the face of the badge.

The indictment further alleges that on May 7, 2015, when Allen travelled to the victim’s home in Evans, Georgia, she provided him with a cell phone and directed him to speak with the person on the line, who was her co-conspirator in Jamaica.

The US Department of Justice has said this prosecution is part of its effort to work with US federal and local law enforcement to combat the lottery scam in Jamaica that prey on mainly American citizens.