WASHINGTON (Sept 16, 2017) – A Jamaican national has been sentenced to two years in prison after she was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in the United States.
US District Court Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr also ordered Shashana Stacyann Smith, 34, to pay US$167,532.95 in restitution.
Smith pleaded guilty on March 31 to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in the Western District of North Carolina.
court rulAs part of her guilty plea, Smith acknowledged that, from in or about early 2015 through at least in or about August 2016, she was a member of a lottery fraud conspiracy that targeted victims in the United States.
“Today’s sentencing demonstrates the Justice Department’s commitment to combatting foreign-based lottery fraud schemes targeting individuals in the United States,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readle, of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.
“Financial schemes designed to defraud unsuspecting victims will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he added.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) said Smith was arrested in Florida on December 14, 2016 after being indicted by a grand jury in Charlotte, North Carolina.
As part of her guilty plea, Smith acknowledged that victims of the scheme received a telephone call stating that they had won money in a sweepstakes or lottery.
Victims were instructed to send money for fees or other expenses in order to release their purported lottery winnings.
The DOJ said the victims of the scheme sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to Smith, who then sent, transported or facilitated payment of a portion of the money to Jamaica.
Smith acknowledged there was no lottery, that there were no winnings, and that she kept some the victims’ money for her own benefit.
“Engaging in a fraud scheme targeting Americans carries serious consequences, including time in prison,” said US Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose of the Western District of North Carolina.
“Particularly insidious are those who target victims in the sanctity of their home and those who unfortunately do not quite understand the consequences of providing information to these fraudsters.
“We consider today’s sentence a win for all Americans, who are weary of these phone call scammers.”
The DOJ said this prosecution is part of its effort to work with US federal and local law enforcement to combat fraudulent lottery schemes in Jamaica that prey on US citizens. – CMC