Lottery Scam Alleged Mastermind Arrested in US For $1.69M Fraud is Jamaican Cop
Posted on: February 7, 2022, 01:44h.
Last updated on: February 7, 2022, 02:04h.
A Jamaican police officer was arrested in the US Friday and accused of masterminding a lottery fraud operation that preyed on elderly and vulnerable Americans.
Shelian Cherine Allen, 42, has been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by wire and conspiracy to commit fraud by mail. Prosecutors say she headed up a criminal group which they call “the Allen Lottery Scheme Organization (ALSO),” according to a criminal complaint filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
The 18-year police veteran was detained by federal agents as she landed on a flight from Jamaica to the US. She has been under surveillance since 2020 and made frequent trips to the US, according to a probable cause affidavit,
ALSO Known As…
ALSO is accused of defrauding more than 20 elderly Americans of at least US$1.69 million. The group used telemarketing techniques to find victims, who they would dupe into believing they had won millions on a non-existent lottery draw.
As is typical of such scams, the crooks told their victims they would have to pay an advance fee in order to release the winnings. They explained these fees covered expenses like tax, insurance payments, and customs duties.
According to the complaint, a Milwaukee resident was cold-called in the summer of 2019 by ALSO operatives. They claimed to represent something called the Publishers Clearing House Lottery. The victim was told they had won a house, a Mercedes Benz, and $18 million. That’s when the gaslighting began.
“The calls did not stop,” reads the complaint. “‘Victim-1’ received calls day and night. Others, also claiming to be lottery representatives for the lottery they claimed she won, continued to contact Victim-1, usually by phone, and directed Victim-1 to send money in cash, postal money orders, and personal and cashier’s checks to different individuals in both the United States and Jamaica.”
Ultimately the victim sold their house so they could send the scammers $150,000 to claim the nonexistent prize.
According to federal authorities, Jamaican criminal groups have developed expertise in finding vulnerable victims, which include the elderly and those with physical or mental disabilities.
“The scammers routinely involve other victims to facilitate the laundering of financial transactions by receiving and negotiating financial instruments, receiving and withdrawing funds from bank accounts, and transferring funds to either unknowing victims or to fellow coconspirators,” reads the complaint.
After learning of the Milwaukee victim’s plight, Wisconsin police contacted the FBI, who followed the money trail. They identified Allen via a payment of US$128,000 to one of her bank accounts.
According to The Jamaica Gleaner, Allen was suspended by her employer, the Jamaica Constabulary Force, immediately after her arrest. She had previously been suspended for corruption, but was reinstated last year after winning a court case against the law enforcement agency.
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