Two Jamaican men have been sentenced to more than five years in federal prison for their role in a sweepstakes scam targeting elderly Americans.
The US Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina reported on Tuesday that 32-year-old Tyrell Harris and 60-year-old Errol Durrant were given prison terms and ordered to pay $1.75 million in restitution.
The prison sentences are to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision. In detailing how the crimes were perpetrated, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina says Harris, Durrant, and other co-conspirators would contact elderly victims across America and falsely tell them they had won sweepstakes.
The scammers would then tell the victims that in order to claim the prizes, they needed to pay bogus fees or taxes. Evidence presented in court showed that the victims purchased prepaid cards, postal service money orders, bank money orders, and mailed cash and personal checks to the defendants.
The defendants would then wire the fraudulent funds to co-conspirators in Jamaica to be dispersed amongst various bank accounts. Prosecutors led evidence that Harris and Durrant reportedly received more than $1.7 million from at least seventy victims across fifteen US states as a result of the scheme.