3 People Convicted of Running Lottery Scheme, Using Proceeds to Purchase Salvage Cars


The scheme bilked elderly victims out of more than $1.1 million, which was used to buy and repair vehicles that were shipped to Jamaica for sale.

A federal jury delivered a guilty verdict Nov. 17 against three permanent residents of the U.S., originally from Jamaica, for their involvement in a fraudulent Jamaican lottery scheme. Caron Pitter, Rohan Lyttle and Charlene Marshall faced multiple charges of wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering.

According to U.S. Attorney Gerard M. Karam, the defendants were part of a scheme that targeted elderly Americans between 2017 and 2020. Victims were deceived into believing they had won large cash prizes from Publisher’s Clearing House, but were required to prepay taxes and fees to claim the nonexistent winnings. The methods of payment included cash packages sent through postal services, bank transfers and digital payment platforms.

The trial brought forth testimonies from several victims, including a 78-year-old from Mechanicsburg, PA, and a 90-year-old from Walterboro, SC. Collectively, these victims suffered losses exceeding $1.1 million. In one instance, a victim was duped into sending more than $200,000 in cash packages directly to the defendants.

The prosecution presented evidence showing the defendants’ involvement in an auto body shop in New York and a used car dealership in Jamaica. The proceeds from the lottery scam were used to purchase and repair salvage vehicles, which were then shipped to Jamaica for sale.

Additionally, the jury heard how the defendants attempted to conceal their fraudulent gains. They distributed funds among themselves, used various bank accounts and obtained cashier’s checks to avoid detection. Their tactics also included breaking up large cash amounts into smaller deposits to evade banking regulations.

The case was thoroughly investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, with Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ravi Romel Sharma and David C. Williams leading the prosecution.

Under federal law, the convicted individuals face a maximum penalty of 20 years for each offense related to fraud and money laundering, and up to 10 years for interstate transportation of goods taken by fraud. Sentencing will be determined by a federal judge, taking into account federal sentencing statutes and guidelines.

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