For seven long years, crime and luxury defined the lifestyle of several lawless and growing groups of Jamaican thieves. Nearly 150 suspected criminals have been arrested in regard to the scam. The armed gangs began to threaten one another as part of their criminal business competition. One gang, the infamous Stonecrusher, got into the act not by way of the lottery scams, but through extortion. The Stonecrusher threatened the moneyed scammers with pay-up-or-die ultimatums. As a result of the vicious gang activity, several of the individuals who were involved in scamming rings, were fatally shot or beheaded.
No Bingo in the Scam?
It is alleged that a Jamaican by the name of Kenrick ‘Bebe’ Stephenson came to the public’s attention in 2005 through an article in the local Jamaican newspaper, The Gleaner, as being one of the masterminds of a lucrative scam. Stephenson had become instantly wealthy with no apparent employment. He is currently in jail awaiting extradition. Owen Ellington, the Jamaican Police Commissioner recently said they are hard at work to finalize the extradition of Stephenson and the others who are allegedly involved in the criminal conning activity.
The scam that came to light involved bilking Americans out of hundreds of millions of dollars through emails. The scheme included a fraudulent processing charge for the supposed future receipt of non-existent lottery winnings. A few months after the police and public became aware of the scam, copycat scammers in neighboring areas began separate conning operations using the same scheme.
Soon between a hundred and two hundred otherwise unemployed young crooks were cropping up in the expensive social scene, with luxury SUVs and high-priced jewelry. These are the operations that verbalized and carried out armed threats against each other, the biggest hammer being the Stonecrusher, described above. Sad as it is, those gangs that could not sufficiently arm themselves, are said to have hired corrupt policemen for protection. It is not reported that any of these alleged police criminals have been arrested.
The country of Jamaica does not seem to have much of a legal system. Prior to late 2011, as fast as the scammers were arrested, that is as fast as they were released. One enforcement organization proved to be wholly ineffective due to the failure of the Jamaican criminal justice system. That enforcement organization has a hot-sounding name and is comprised of supposedly powerful agencies: Jamaican Operations Linked to Telemarketing (JOLT). It was formed in 2008, and consisted of US Immigration Custom Enforcement agents and the US Embassy situated in Jamaica, in addition to major Jamaican agencies.
The Current Powerhouse of Jamaican Law Enforcement
The Lotto Task Force of the Jamaican police department is headed by Superintendent Leon Clunie. The Superintendent believes that the arrest of the almost 150 alleged scammers has dealt the blow of death to this scheme. It appears that his expectation involves a quick extradition of all of those being held. Over the past seven years, U.S. citizens have been conned out of hundreds of millions of dollars. It remains to be seen whether America will have the clout needed to extradite those currently in jail. Do the Keystone Cops come to mind?