Sun | Jul 25, 2021

Scammer loses asylum plea

Court not convinced Jamaican lottery ringleader will torture her when deported

Published:Tuesday | June 22, 2021 | 12:11 AMTanesha Mundle/Staff Reporter
Darby, who was a resident in New York, defrauded elderly people in 2012 under the leadership of Ringo and would hand-deliver cash to the leader in Jamaica.
Darby, who was a resident in New York, defrauded elderly people in 2012 under the leadership of Ringo and would hand-deliver cash to the leader in Jamaica.

A convicted Jamaican lottery scammer who had challenged her deportation from the United States, claiming that she would be tortured by the scheme’s ringleader, has lost her application for asylum. The petitioner, Kayann Darby, otherwise known as...

A convicted Jamaican lottery scammer who had challenged her deportation from the United States, claiming that she would be tortured by the scheme’s ringleader, has lost her application for asylum.

The petitioner, Kayann Darby, otherwise known as Kayann Darny and Larece Knox, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in October 2017 and a removability order that was filed against her was affirmed by an immigration judge.

The judge also rejected Darby’s claim for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention against Torture (CAT) on the grounds that the Jamaican authorities would also target her and overlook her supposed ill treatment because police officers were also involved in lottery scamming.

Darby, a green card holder, sought to have the decision reversed by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), but the judge’s decision was affirmed.

However, a year and a half later, well past the statutory deadline, the Jamaican moved to reopen her removal proceedings in the BIA, which was again denied, leading to her petitioning the United States Court of Appeals of the Third Circuit for a review of the board’s decision.

But the high court, in its written judgment published last Thursday, turned down her request and affirmed the BIA’s rejection of Darby’s late quest to reopen her asylum petition.

According to the judgment, Darby, in support of her petition, had contended that the deadline did not apply to her case as her circumstances in Jamaica had changed in relation to her claims of facing torture from Ringo, who was identified as the leader of the lottery scam ring.

Darby’s claim, for which she drew support from a newspaper article, was that that someone had been murdered by Ringo in a lottery scam dispute. She further insisted that BIA should reopen proceedings because she had shown eligibility for an adjustment of her status.

But the judges emphasised that “Darby’s motion to reopen fails not because it contained unconvincing evidence of official acquiescence, but because it contained no such evidence”.

Article 3 of the CAT prevents the United States from deporting an alien to a country “where there are substantial grounds for believing that he (or she) would be in danger of subjected to torture”.

The BIA had initially ruled that Darby had failed to establish that she would likely suffer harm by Ringo, that she could not relocate somewhere safe in Jamaica, and that officials here would acquiesce to her harm.

That follows the ruling from the immigration judge, which had found, among other things, that nothing in the record indicated that Ringo or his associates were looking for Darby or that Ringo had contacted her since threatening her in 2013; that Ringo knew Darby’s whereabouts or that he or his associates had acted on Ringo’s threats against Darby; or that Darby did not know whether Ringo knew of her cooperation with the US Attorney’s Office.

Darby, who was a resident in New York, defrauded elderly people in 2012 under the leadership of Ringo and would hand-deliver cash to him in Jamaica.

The couple were convinced they were paying “taxes to collect their winnings”.

However, Darby fell out of favour with Ringo after she insisted that she did not collect a package that had been reportedly sent to her. Ringo, however, believed that she was lying and threatened a gun attack. Darby then asked him not to send her any more money.

Some time after, in 2014, she was arrested in relation to the scam, and as part of her guilty plea, provided information about Ringo to the Assistant US Attorney prosecuting the case but did not receive a reduced sentence in exchange for providing the information.

Darby was sentenced to 30 months in jail and ordered to pay restitution of US$93,836.

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