Sun | Jan 21, 2018

Court orders extradition of major player in lottery scamming scheme

Published:Friday | December 9, 2016 | 2:08 PM

Livern Barrett, Senior Gleaner Writer

A Parish Judge today ordered the extradition of Lavrick Willocks, the Jamaican man wanted in the United States for allegedly running a lottery scamming scheme that fleeced dozens of elderly American citizens out of millions of dollars.

The order was made by Parish Judge Vaughn Smith in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court after Willocks, through his attorney Tom Tavares-Finson, waived his right to an extradition hearing and signed a consent form.

Before making the order, Smith asked Willocks if he understood the consequences of his action.

He said yes.

Willocks, described as a major player in the lottery scamming, was arrested on November 5 at a corporate area hotel during a joint operation by the Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch and the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency.

A Panamanian woman who attempted to help him escape a police dragnet was also taken into custody for immigration and other violations.

Willocks is wanted in the state of North Dakota where he and nearly two dozen people, mostly Jamaicans, have been indicted on lottery scamming-related charges.

According to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), they have been indicted on 48 counts of wire fraud; 15 counts of mail fraud, one count of money laundering and one count of conspiracy and attempting to commit wire fraud.

The DPP said Willocks led a criminal organisation, which operated in Jamaica and the US, that defraud a total of 80 elderly victims of approximately US$5.6 million.

Prosecutors alleged that the cash was sent to Jamaica by middlemen in the US through bank cheques, wire transfers, the mail service and by money couriers.