The Bos\’un Locker

During times of war and during times of peace, we must prepare for tomorrow with the realities of today.

Don’t Gamble on Foreign Lotteries

Posted by thebosun on August 16, 2006

COURTESY OF THE FBI:  A CAUTIONARY TALE

08/09/06

“Congratulations! You may receive a certified check for up to $400,000,000 U.S. CASH! One Lump sum! Tax Free! Your odds to WIN are 1-6. Hundreds of U.S. citizens win every week using our secret system! You can win as much as you want!”Sound too good to be true? That’s because it is. International con artists use lottery scams such as this to defraud Americans out of more than $120 million a year.What should you know about foreign lotteries?

  • They’re illegal. Federal law prohibits the cross-border sale or purchase of lottery tickets by phone or mail.
  • They’re losing propositions. Foreign lottery scam artists will drain your bank account or steal the money you sent to pay for the tickets, duties, and taxes.

Here are a few examples of how the schemes work:

  • You receive a call, an e-mail, or a letter telling you that you’ve won a large sum of money in a foreign lottery you don’t remember entering. To claim your “winnings,” you’ll have to provide your bank account number so your winnings may be deposited into your account.
  • You’re told you’ve won a sizable lottery and are asked to wire a few thousand dollars to a “customs agent” to cover duties and taxes. But after wiring the money, you’re contacted again and told you must send even more money to collect your prize.
  • You receive a congratulatory letter in the mail along with a check for $5,000. You’re instructed to cash the check, then wire a portion of the funds to a foreign address to cover taxes and fees, keeping the remaining money as your “lottery winnings.” A few days after doing so, your bank notifies you that the check was counterfeit and you now must repay it the $5,000.

What are we doing to stop these schemes? We’ve partnered with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and others to identify, disrupt, and dismantle organizations perpetrating these schemes, to seize the proceeds of their operations, and to return stolen money to victims. Thanks to these partnerships, a Canadian man was sentenced to 78 months in a U.S. prison on July 17 after pleading guilty to racketeering, mail and wire fraud, and conspiracy for his role in a lottery scheme that stole more than $8 million from elderly widows and widowers in the U.S.

Bottom line? Don’t respond to calls, e-mails, or mailings promoting foreign lotteries. If you think you’ve been victimized by one of these scams, report it to your local FBI office. Or, if you were scammed on-line, file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center.

Resources: Spanish Lottery Fraud | Protecting Yourself from Common Fraud Schemes | Looks Too Good To Be True.com

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One Response to “Don’t Gamble on Foreign Lotteries”

  1. Judy said

    St. Lucian lawyer Callistus Vern Gill, operating in juxtaposition with two well know scam artist Peter Leroy John and Brother Leo Winston John, are suspected of forging land documents and signatures, then present such documents in St. Lucia courts as legally binding bill of sale, in order to acquire land legally owned by four generations of families. Our attempt to investigate the fraudsters is posted below:
    Modern-day Land thieves on the Island of St. Lucia:
    The following is my recollection of what transpired and personal experiences during our stay on the beautiful Island of St. Lucia
    Two of my colleagues and I flew down to your island on June 16, 2008, after receiving information from reputable and confidential sources in Washington DC, with firsthand knowledge of what appears to be systematic patterns of fraudulent land stealing scams, by several persons in conjunction with a handful of sleazy lawyers, supported by corrupt land registry employees and members of your island’s judiciary.
    The objective of our trip was to interview several parties who apparently had fallen victim to two known con artists, Peter Leroy John and his brother Leo Winston John, from the village of La Croix Chaubourg/ Babonneau.
    We spoke to several persons who were quite knowledgeable to the John brother’s scam, and in fact we made several attempts to interview the Johns on June 17, to no avail.
    On June 18 2008, we attempted again to make contact with Mr. Leroy John and he agreed to meet with us at his residence that afternoon. Upon arrival, we were asked to wait outside by a young lady who said her father would join us shortly. To our surprise, two black men wearing military style camouflage, exited Mr. John’s residence and walked toward us in an intimidating and confrontational manner. One of the men wearing dark sunglasses with no name tag on his uniform, told us he was with the police and was here to warn us about interfering with issues that “was not our concern and we should leave the island immediately if we did not want to end up sleeping with the fish”.
    He demanded to see our passports which we told him had been accidently left at the hotel. He threatened us with arrests if we did not leave the island within 24 hours.
    Based on the information we were able to gather during our short stay on that lovely island, we are convinced that this story warrants an in depth investigation to expose what appears to be a well organized gang of land swindlers operating with complete impunity from the island’s criminal justice system.

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