News

Jamaica Looks to Tackle Lotto Scam

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - April 20, 2012

Above: Minister of State Julian Jay Robinson

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Jamaica’s government is drafting legislation and setting up an inter-ministerial task force aimed at curb a multi-million-dollar lottery scam in Jamaica.

The new drive has been motivated by “the increasing attention being paid to the lotto scam and the response of law enforcement and other stakeholders in the United States,” according to Minister of State Julian Jay Robinson.

“Firstly, [the scam] gives Brand Jamaica a very negative image, particularly in a year when we are celebrating our 50th anniversary as a nation,” he said. “It negatively impacts Jamaica’s reputation as a place to do business and specifically the ICT outsourcing sector, which is a major area of growth and job creation for the country.”

It also “is likely to turn off tourists coming to Jamaica,” he said.

Each day, approximately 30,000 calls have been made into the US by Jamaican criminals attempting to commit fraud.

Jamaican criminals involved in scamming have earned approximately $300 million USD each year from the criminal enterprise, with a single player estimated to have earned $1 billion.

The scammers, through US-based criminal associates, visit homes and allegedly threaten victims with violence if monies are not paid.

The new task force will be comprised of officials from several ministries, including Tourism, National Security, Foreign Affairs and Investment, among others.

The legislation being drafted would target those who use ICT to commit security breaches, with sanctions and penalties for breaches.

A new website, www.bewareof876.com was launched to warn of the potential dangers of lotto scammers.

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