Fri | Aug 12, 2022

Two Jamaicans in sweepstakes fraud face 20 years in US prison

Published:Friday | July 1, 2022 | 10:28 AM
According to US court documents, Maurice Levy, 51, and Derrick Levy, 54, admitted that, between July 2008 and September 2016, they worked in call centres in Costa Rica that defrauded victims in America.

WASHINGTON, CMC – Two Jamaicans face up to 20 years in prison after they pleaded guilty to an international telemarketing sweepstakes scheme that defrauded millions from numerous elderly and vulnerable victims in the United States.

According to US court documents, Maurice Levy, 51, and Derrick Levy, 54, admitted that, between July 2008 and September 2016, they worked in call centres in Costa Rica that defrauded victims in America.

The US Department of Justice said in a statement that both men admitted that they concealed their physical location using Voice-over-IP technology “which enabled them to give victims telephone numbers that, although bearing US area codes, were actually answered at the call centres in Costa Rica.

“Maurice Levy and Derrick Levy further admitted that they would call individuals in the United States, many of whom were elderly and vulnerable, and falsely claim that the individuals had won a sweepstakes prize but were required to pay fees prior to the delivery of the prize.

In truth, no such prize existed.

“Once a victim made an initial payment for the purported fees, Maurice Levy, Derrick Levy, and their co-conspirators would continue to call the victim, falsely representing that a mistake had been made and that the victim had actually won a prize of a greater amount, or an issue had occurred, and the victim needed to pay additional fees to claim the prize,” the department said, adding that many victims sent tens of thousands of dollars to the two men and their co-conspirators in response to these calls.

The department said during the scheme, Derrick and Maurice Levy fraudulently obtained more than US$9,400,000 from victims, “which was used to continue operating the call centres and for the co-conspirators' personal benefit.”

It said Maurice Levy pleaded guilty on Wednesday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and will be sentenced at a future date.

Derrick Levy pleaded guilty on January 25 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and will be sentenced on September 28, the DOJ said, adding that they each face at least up to 20 years in prison.

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