Majority Press

Law Enforcement Officials Arrest Four Individuals in Connection with Jamaican Telephone Scam

Sen. Collins’ Committee Continues to Investigate Matter, Senator Releases Statement

WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, who is the Ranking Member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, has been notified that law enforcement officials in New York have made four arrests in connection with the fraudulent lottery scam being operated from Jamaica.  The Committee has been investigating this matter, which has targeted seniors in Maine and throughout the nation, and has resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Earlier this year and at Senator Collins’ urging, the Aging Committee held a hearing to bring to light these scams.
Following the arrests of four men in New York by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Senator Collins released this statement:
“The Jamaican lottery scam is cruel, sophisticated, and persistent and has victimized elderly residents throughout Maine and the nation.  Too many seniors who should be enjoying their golden years have instead lost hundreds of thousands of dollars and suffered harassment and a loss of dignity.  I am encouraged that law enforcement officials are continuing to pursue these ruthless perpetrators, and it is my hope that this scam will be completely dismantled and that those involved will be brought to justice.”

According to law enforcement and FairPoint Communications, at one time as many as 30,000 calls were targeted to senior citizens in the United States from the Jamaican “876” area code each day.  This number is often mistaken for a toll-free number. Those who answer the phone are congratulated for winning the “Jamaican Lottery,” or a new car.  They are directed to send a “fee” of up to $4,000 to process their winnings. The victims are told that once the process fee is received, their winnings will be wired to their bank account or the car will be delivered to their home.  But, of course, the "winnings" never arrive, and more demands for money follow.

In addition to the Aging Committee hearing and investigation, Senator Collins has worked to educate Mainers about this scam so they can avoid being victimized.