Corrupt employees at some government agencies are making it even more difficult for the police to clamp down on the illegal lottery scam.
A Sunday Gleaner probe has confirmed that fraudulent driver's licences, Tax Registration Numbers (TRN) and other documents are being sold across western Jamaica and the scammers are paying big bucks for them.
The most common among the fraudulent documents is a driver's licence, which can be purchased for up to $100,000 in Montego Bay, St James, which is the genesis of the lottery scam.
"Just send your money and your picture and a man can get a driver's licence for you in any name you want," one person close to the western Jamaica criminal underworld told The Sunday Gleaner.Police aware of situation
Yesterday, head of the police's Lottery Scam Task Force, Superintendent Leon Clunie, confirmed that the fraudulent documents have hit the radar of investigators.
"We have been coming across persons with several identities and even vehicles registered in names of persons who don't exist," said Clunie.
"There was someone, who we arrested recently, who had more than one identification card [and] different TRNs in his possession."
The task force has also arrested an alleged major scammer, whose driver's licence showed the address of a retired policeman.
There is another case of a young man who was arrested last year and found with Jamaican and United States identification cards bearing his photograph but different names.
Similarly, one alleged scammer was held while driving a Toyota Corolla motor car with all the papers for the vehicle in the name of a St Mary resident.
When the police checked with the resident, he disclosed that, while he drives a similar Toyota Corolla, his vehicle was parked in his driveway as he spoke to the cops.
According to a senior police officer, who asked not to be named, while the sale of fraudulent documents is neither new nor restricted to western Jamaica, it has exploded in that section of the island as under-pressure scammers try to disguise their wealth and change their identities.
The Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA) has also admitted that it is worried about public servants getting involved in these illegal activities.
Public servants warned
"We have warned our public servants that they need be careful, they need to be vigilant, they need not get tempted with the lure of quick money, and to preserve what little respect we have been able to maintain," JCSA President O'Neil Grant told The Sunday Gleaner.
He said the JCSA was also concerned that persons not involved in the civil service could set up shop to produce documents that could pass examination.
"It is worrying to us that the amount of weakness that permeates the legal system gives them the knowledge base to perfect their craft. We hear of shops operating out there which are producing documents of various kinds," said Grant, as he pointed to a recent case where an individual was held with three passports in different names.
In the case of the lotto scammers,
Grant said, "The corruption is far-reaching, deep-seated and involves
individuals outside of the Jamaican