Crime

Jamaican man accused of swindling Americans in lottery scheme

In the first case of its kind, a Jamaican man has been extradited to South Florida to faces charges of duping people into sending money to the island nation to collect purported lottery winnings, authorities said.

Damion Bryan Barrett, charged in a 38-count indictment, is accused of conspiring to trick elderly victims in the United States to pay thousands of dollars in fees for lottery winnings that they had not won in Jamaica.

Barrett, the first Jamaican citizen to be extradited to the United States on charges of defrauding Americans in a lottery scheme, made his first appearance in Fort Lauderdale federal court on Friday after arriving at Opa-locka Airport the previous day.

Starting in October 2008, Barrett and his co-conspirators told victims in the United States that they had won cash and prizes, persuading them to send money to release the winnings, according to an indictment. The victims never received cash or prizes.

The defendant and others made calls from Jamaica using Voice over Internet Protocol technology with a U.S. area code, the indictment said. Barrett convinced victims to send money to middlemen in South Florida, who forwarded it to Jamaica.

Barrett’s co-defendant, Oneike Barnett, 29, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and was sentenced to five years in prison and to pay $94,456 in restitution for his role, according to court records.

The lottery case, prosecuted by the U.S. attorney’s office, was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security.

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