Two Nigerians in Jamaica have been arrested and charged with lottery scam. According to local news platform, The Gleaner, the suspects, Folashade Bakare, 34, and Yusuf Abiodun Bakare, 32, who are originally from Lagos and were residing at Bogue Heights in St James, were arrested at the Sangster International Airport on Wednesday.
The suspects were rounded up at the cargo section of the airport after customs officers found bank cards in packages they were reportedly picking up after conducting a search. The police were later called in after they could not adequately account for the items.
Investigations subsequently carried out uncovered identity information belonging to other people. Additional devices containing identity information of people residing overseas were also reportedly found at their home after a search.
The suspects have been charged with breaches of the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transactions) (Special Provisions) Act and the Immigration Act and will appear at the St James Parish Court on Wednesday to answer to the charges, according to local reports.
The most popular Advance-fee fraud in the Caribbean nation, lottery scam rakes in an estimated $300 million annually in funds swindled from unsuspecting individuals, typically old and vulnerable foreigners. The scheme involves scammers calling victims to convince them they’ve won a lottery, but need to make an upfront payment of fees or taxes in order to be able to receive the cash or prizes.
The scam is very prevalent in Montego Bay, the capital of Saint James Parish and the island nation’s tourism capital, popularly referred as the country’s “friendliest city.” Young locals from some of the deprived and violent communities in the city – which has been under a state of emergency since 2018 to curb the surge in violent crime – are usually recruited to join the scheme.
Locals and police blame the violence in the city on gang conflict culminating from reprisal shootings and the lottery scam, Miami Herald reports.