Judge sentences 4 Jamaican nationals in lottery scam with ties to Myrtle Beach area

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 11:17 AM EDT|Updated: May. 11, 2022 at 4:28 PM EDT
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FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) – Four people who stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from elderly people through a lottery scam are headed to federal prison.

The U.S. District Attorney’s Office in the District of South Carolina announced on Wednesday that a judge sentenced Fabian Gray and Romaine Gordon to more than five years in prison, while Avia Reid will spend more than four years behind bars and Khalelah Powell was sentenced to over two years in a federal prison.

Homeland Security and the United States Postal Service said the four were operating a bogus lottery telemarketing scam out of Myrtle Beach.

Evidence presented in court showed that as part of the scam, the defendants would contact elderly victims through phone and mail, and then lie to them, telling them they had won a sweepstakes. The supposed prizes usually consisted of millions of dollars, a new vehicle or other valuable items. But the defendants would tell the victims that they had to pay taxes and fees in order to receive their winnings.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the victims would mail the defendants prepaid cards, money orders, cash and would even deposit the money into the defendants’ bank accounts.

Evidence shows the defendants received over $300,000 from their victims. The funds were then withdrawn by, or transferred to, co-conspirators in Jamaica, and the Defendants retained a 25% cut of the scamming proceeds.

Officials say there are at least 67 victims, with 25 of those victims being over 80 years old and several victims were targeted multiple times.

Once the defendants serve their prison sentences, they will have three years of court-ordered supervision if they are not deported upon release.

They are also ordered to pay nearly $350,000 in restitution to the victims.

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