Accused can lottery scammer faces up to 20 years in Florida prison

WASHINGTON, DC, USA (CMC) — A 33-year-old Jamaican woman has been arrested in Florida, following her eight-count indictment by a grand jury in the Western District of North Carolina in connection with a fraudulent lottery scheme based in Jamaica.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said Shashana Stacyann Smith, a Florida resident, was charged on Thursday with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and seven counts of wire fraud in connection with the fraudulent lottery scheme.

The indictment alleges that Smith participated in a conspiracy to defraud Americans and induce them to send thousands of dollars to her and others in the United States and Jamaica.

Victims were contacted and falsely informed that they had won a lottery, the indictment states, noting that the victims were instructed to send money for so-called fees in order to receive their prize, and were contacted repeatedly with additional requests to pay money.

The indictment noted that the victims never received any lottery winnings.

“International schemes with phony promises of large lottery winnings continue to target unsuspecting Americans,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.

“These international lottery schemes frequently use co-conspirators in this country to perpetuate the fraud. The Department of Justice will continue to prosecute those who participate in these international based schemes.”

Beginning in late 2015, Smith is alleged to have joined a conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and to have committed wire fraud in furtherance of the conspiracy, the DOJ said.

According to the indictment, Smith received victims’ money in the United States, kept a percentage of the money for her own benefit, and sent the rest of the victims’ money to recipients in Jamaica and the United States.

The indictment further alleges that Smith transported thousands of dollars in cash to Jamaica on multiple occasions, and gave the cash to a co-conspirator there.

If convicted of conspiracy, the DOJ said Smith faces a statutory maximum term of 20 years in prison, a possible fine and mandatory restitution.

The DOJ said Smith’s indictment is part of its effort working with US federal and other law enforcement to combat fraudulent lottery schemes in Jamaica “preying on American citizens”.

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