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15,000 alleged scammers on police radar

Published:Thursday | April 27, 2017 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Minister of National Security, Robert Montague.

As law enforcers from both the United States and Jamaica intensify their efforts to put a massive dent in the burgeoning multimillion-dollar lottery scam network operating in Jamaica, National Security Minister Robert Montague says investigators have some 15,000 players under the microscope that could face charges in United States courts.

The Lottery Scamming Task Force has been restarted this year with a strong mandate to target lottery scamming.

The responsibility to track down and cramp the activities of the persons involved in lottery scamming was shifted to the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA).

However, Montague said that MOCA was overworked, hence the burden of pursuing lottery scammers was reverted to the task force.

In his remarks at a post-Sectoral Debate press conference at the Ministry of National Security in Kingston on Thursday, Montague said that the authorities would "leave no stone unturned because the results of lottery scamming are creating mayhem in the lives of many families, and, as a State, we have to respond fulsomely".

On Wednesday, Joshua Polacheck, counsellor for public affairs at the United States Embassy in Kingston, said that US prosecutors were getting ready to unveil up to 500 extradition requests for Jamaicans they believe are involved in the deadly lottery scam.

He said that "a few" requests for the extradition of alleged lottery scammers were already with the Jamaican Government and warned that American prosecutors had "dozens" of cases that were "at the extradition stage".

"That means most of them are with US attorneys [offices], getting ready to be sent to the Ministry of Justice," Polacheck said when asked to define the "extradition stage".