Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer
Minister of Justice Senator Mark Golding says the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transactions) Special Provisions Act 2013, which will give the police the legislative powers required to prosecute persons involved in the lottery scam, will become enforceable by the end of March.
"The Law Reform (Fraudulent Transactions) Special Provisions Bill 2013 has been developed," said Golding while giving the keynote address at the inaugural Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) in Montego Bay on Wednesday. "This bill represents a hard-fisted, proactive legislative response to deal with scamming in Jamaica.
"Happily, this major piece of legislation in fighting lotto scamming was submitted to the Parliament on February 26, 2013, with the anticipation that it will be passed before the end of March," added the senator.
According to Golding, the new act will be accompanied by the Evidence (Special Measures) Act 2012, which allows for testimony to be given in Jamaican court proceedings via a live audiovisual link from a remote location.
This act will also permit video-recorded evidence to be taken as a witness' evidence in chief, enabling persons outside of Jamaica, who have been victims of scamming, to give evidence from their place of residence.
Golding argued that the absence of the proper legislative framework, despite increased operations, have resulted in the police being unable to charge persons detained after being found with evidence of scamming.
In 2012, the Lotto Scam Task Force carried out some 39 major operations, seizing 'lead' lists with the names of 1.2 million American citizens who are the major targets of local scammers.
During the period, the police arrested 367 persons; charged some 100 persons for related offences; seized J$32.6 million in cash, 121 motor vehicles, 124 computers, 577 cell phones, 30 magic jacks and two illegal firearms.
The estimated amount, which has been scammed by Jamaican fraudsters since the illicit scam came to the fore, now stands at over US$300 million.
In addition to the fleecing of American citizens, the illicit scam has been blamed by the local police for the upsurge in gun-related crimes in western Jamaica as intelligence have shown that scammers have a penchant for guns and gang-related activities.