US extradites first Jamaican for lottery scams

US extradites first Jamaican for lottery scams

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Twenty-eight-year-old Damion Bryan Barrett, the first Jamaican to be extradited to the United States based on charges of defrauding Americans in connection with a lottery scheme, arrived in Opa-locka, Florida today.

According to information from the United States Justice Department, he was extradited based on charges that he committed fraud as part of an international lottery scheme against elderly victims in the United States.

Barrett is to face a 38-count indictment in the Southern District of Florida, with conspiracy and 37 counts of wire fraud, and with committing these offences via telemarketing.

Barrett will make his initial appearance on Friday, February 13, before Magistrate Judge Alicia O Valle in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was first indicted by a federal grand jury in Fort Lauderdale on August 9, 2012, and was arrested January 2015 in Jamaica based on the United States’ request that he be extradited.

The indictment stated that Barrett and his co-conspirators started contacting people in the USA in October 2008, announcing that the victims had won cash and prizes and persuaded the victims to send them thousands of dollars in fees to release the money. The victims never received the cash or prizes.

The defendant and his co-conspirators allegedly made calls from Jamaica, using voice over internet protocol technology that allowed them to use a telephone number with a US area code. According to the indictment, Barrett convinced victims to send money to middlemen in South Florida, who then forwarded the money to Jamaica.

The Department of Justice will find and prosecute those responsible for fraud against American consumers, no matter where the perpetrator resides, said Acting Assistant Attorney General Joyce R Branda of the Justice Departments Civil Division. Lottery schemes that target elderly victims for fraud cannot, and will not be tolerated.

Persons who commit crimes against American seniors from outside of the United States will be held accountable, US Attorney Wifredo Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida said. This case serves as an example that there are no borders when it comes to obtaining justice for the victims of these lottery schemes.

While Commissioner of Police Carl Williams said the extradition signals a strong partnership between the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the United States law enforcement partners.

We use this opportunity to warn other lottery scammers who continue to prey on unsuspecting US citizens, that they too will pay the penalty, whether through conviction in Jamaica or through extradition to the United States,” insisted Commissioner Williams. “We continue to address this with a high level of attention to contain the scourge.

Barrett will face a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in prison per count, if convicted, as well as a possible fine and mandatory restitution.

Barrett’s co-defendant, Oneike Barnett, 29, pleaded guilty on February 28, 2014, to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. On April 29, 2014, US District Court Judge William J Zloch sentenced Barnett to serve 60 months in prison and five years of supervised release, and to pay US$94,456 in restitution for his role in this case.

jamaica observer