Earlier this week, Lavrick Willocks, an accused mastermind of the infamous phony Jamaica lottery scam was arrested in Jamaica and is now, along with eight other co-defendants, facing extradition to the United States to stand trial on various criminal charges related to the Jamaica lottery scam by which many Americans, mostly elderly, have been scammed out of money after being told that they have won the non-existent Jamaican lottery. The scam begins when the victim receives a telephone call informing them that they have won this non-existent lottery that they never entered and are then pressured to pay “fees” and “taxes” before their winnings can be sent to them. This scam has been going on since the 1990s, largely unchecked until Jamaica passed legislation in 2013 making it easier to convict the scammers.
In May of 2015, following three days of deliberation a North Dakota jury convicted Sanjay Williams, of Montego Bay, Jamaica of conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering charges related to this scam This particular case was four years in the making and started when an 86 year old North Dakota widow, Edna Schmeets lost her entire life’s savings of $300,000 to Jamaican scammers who telephoned her and told her that she had won a 19 million dollar Jamaican lottery, but that she needed to pay taxes and fees before she could claim her prize. Williams was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
As I have often told you, it is difficult to win a lottery you have entered. It is impossible to win one that you have not even entered. You should always be skeptical about being told that you have won a lottery you never entered. It is also important to remember that it is illegal to play foreign lotteries except when you are actually present in the other country. While it is true that income taxes are owed on lottery winnings, legal lotteries never collect tax money from winners. They either deduct the taxes from the winnings or leave it up to the winners to pay their taxes directly to the IRS. You also should never pay a fee to collect a legal lottery prize.