NORTH CAROLINA (CMC):
The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says the family of an elderly woman has received a US$45,000 cheque as part of the US$200,000 stolen from her by Jamaican scammers operating an illegal lottery scheme.
ICE said the funds were recovered by its Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
According to ICE, the unidentified woman, in her 90s, had received information in May 2012 that she had won a lottery prize and was later contacted by an unidentified man who told her she owed US$9,000 in taxes and other expenses in order to receive the prize.
"The fraudsters cheated her out of nearly US$200,000 before she reported the scam to law enforcement," the immigration agency said, adding that HSI special agents, along with other law-enforcement agencies and the woman's financial institution had been able to identify a bank account at the National Commercial Bank in Jamaica, where the illegally obtained funds had been deposited.
Under Project JOLT (Jamaican Operations Linked to Telemarketing), an international task force comprised of agents and officers focused on combating Jamaica-based telemarketing fraud operations, special agents from HSI Kingston worked with local authorities in returning the US$45,000 left in the scammer's account to the victim.
ICE said that the criminal investigation is ongoing.