Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
IF YOU are found guilty of lottery scamming offences, prison could be your abiding city for up to 20 years.
In addition, the Law Reform (fraudulent transactions) (special provisions) Act, which is being developed to help tackle the lottery scam, contains proposals for convicts to pay restitution to their victims.
"The growth of lottery scams, as they are commonly called in Jamaica, has developed quickly and in a complex manner, which has the potential to infiltrate all sectors of society," National Security Minister Peter Bunting said in the memorandum of objects and reasons of the bill, which was tabled in the House of Representatives two weeks ago.
Bunting, noting that the lottery scam straddles organised and financial crimes, said it was necessary to have effective legislation to "combat the growth of criminal activities as the law in its present state has proven to be ineffective in prosecuting offenders".
In the anti-lottery scam bill, legislators are being asked to consider sending the accused straight to a single Circuit Court judge for trial, bypassing preliminary enquiry and conducting the trial without a jury.
The bill also proposes that persons be sentenced to a fine and a term of imprisonment for up to 20 years if they are found guilty of obtaining money by false pretence.
A similar punishment may be handed down for inviting a person by false pretence. Bunting has, in the past, pointed to the rescue of an elderly United States citizen from the clutches of lottery scammers in western Jamaica.
The bill is proposing that a person be convicted of a criminal offence, if without lawful justification he makes, imports, repairs, buys, sells or possesses any instrument, device, apparatus, material or thing that he knows has been used or is intended to be used in the copying of any data from an access device, or falsifying any access device to enable him to scam.
This crime carries with it a maximum 20-year prison sentence.
It will also be unlawful under the act to transmit, make available, distribute, sell, offer for sale or share any identity information of another person, or to have such information from which it can be inferred that the information will be used in the lottery scam.
Persons found guilty of the improper and criminal use of identity information, which could include name, address, date of birth, credit card number and any unique identification number, might be imprisoned for up to 15 years.