News Americas, BISMARCK, N.D., Fri. May 8, 2015: Twenty-five-year-old Jamaican Sanjay Williams now faces up to 40 years in prison after being convicted for his role in a Jamaican lottery scam.
Williams of Montego Bay, Jamaica, was convicted Thursday for his role in a Jamaican lottery scam that authorities say cost victims around the country millions of dollars.
Williams, who was described as a “lead broker” was found guilty of conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering and faces up to 40 years in prison.
Jurors in U.S. District Court in Bismarck had deliberated since Tuesday afternoon before reaching a verdict.
Cpl. Kevin Watson, a member of a Jamaican agency comparable to the FBI, testified during Williams’ trial.
“We have been fighting this monster called lottery scams for three years and this is a significant step for both the Jamaican and U.S. governments,” said Watson, who helped found a lottery task force in late 2012.
Watson estimated lottery scams are a $30 million annual industry in Jamaica, and said a law passed there in 2013 has led to some 700 arrests and a 90 percent conviction rate of scammers.
Prosecutors said Williams, who was arrested in North Carolina, was the first person from Jamaica convicted of selling lead lists used in the scam. He was the only one of 32 defendants to opt for trial.
About a dozen defendants are awaiting extradition from Jamaica.
“I hope it makes a difference,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Clare Hochhalter said. “I hope it sends a message to the people who continue doing this crime.”
Defense attorney Charlie Stock said he hadn’t decide on whether there would be an appeal. “I need to speak with Mr. Williams to see where he wants to go,” he said.
U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland did not set a sentencing date or the amount of restitution Williams must pay.
The American Citizen Services section in Kingston said it receives frequent inquiries from citizens who have been defrauded for hundreds and even thousands of dollars by Advance Fee Fraud scammers in Jamaica.
The most prevalent is the Jamaican lottery scam, where scammers lead victims to believe they have won a drawing or lottery, but the cash or prizes will not be released without upfront payment of fees or taxes. Scammers frequently target the elderly or those with disposable income.
Also charged in the scheme are:
Deon-ville Antonio O’Hara, aka ZJ Wah Wa, of Kingston, Jamaica
Lavrick Willocks, 25, of Jamaica
Mario Hines, aka Buju Ramos, 20, of Jamaica
Gregory Gooden, 32, of Jamaica
Gareth Billings, 25, of Jamaica
Akil Gray, 23, of Jamaica
Dario Palmer, aka Innocent Palmer, 22, of Jamaica
Mikael Omarr Gillette, 24, of Miramar, Florida
Shannon O’Connor, 30, of Deerfield Beach, Florida
Christina Renee Hogarth, 25, of Pembroke Pines, Florida
Kimberly Carlo-Jean Hudson, 23, of Jamaica
Xanu Ann Morgan, 21, of Jamaica
Sherlet Anetta Love, 39, of Jamaica
Jason Joseph Jahalal, 24, of Jamaica
Kazrae Gray, age unknown, of Jamaica
Dahlia Elaine Hunter, 49, of Jamaica
Samantha Brown, 28, of Palm Desert, California
James Hayes Simpson, 72, of Owensboro, Kentucky
Tristan Fisher, 27, of Jamaica
Ricardo Augustus Bryan, 32, of North Lauderdale, Florida
O’Neil Brown, 30, of Jamaica
AlrickMcLeod, aka Birdman, aka Z-Bird, 28, of Jamaica
Natalie Dougherty, 33, of Florence, South Carolina
Lindsay Mattig, 20, of Los Angeles, California
Charles Calvin Bauder, 54, of Jefferson, Texas
Deon-Ville Antonio O’Hara, 24, of Jamaica