An elderly Wisconsin man fell victim to a bizarre and involved lottery scam last month, according to a criminal complaint filed in Brown County, Wisconsin. The victim, who is not named in the complaint, was reportedly scammed by a criminal in Jamaica.
The scammer tricked the victim into sending thousands of dollars to a Jamaican address. The criminal lied about being a lottery official and claimed to need the money to authorize prizes for the victim.
The scammer contacted the victim by phone and posed as a lottery official. According to the criminal complaint, the victim believed he was winning a luxury car, a new home, and several million dollars in cash. Before he could access these prizes, the scammer told him, he would need to send thousands of dollars to an address in Jamaica to authorize the distribution of funds.
At one point, the victim reportedly stuffed $30,000 into a crockpot and mailed it to an address supplied by the criminals. The scheme saw the victim lose over $150,000, and he eventually lost his house as a result of the scammers tricking him out of his life’s savings.
Official documents indicate that the scammers have orchestrated a surprisingly successful fraud campaign across the country. Recently-released court papers revealed that “a review of numerous accounts tied to this organization revealed a loss amount in excess of $1.69 million.”
Wisconsin police have arrested a person they believe to be connected to the scheme. The defendant, Shelian Allen, is charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by wire and conspiracy to commit fraud by mail.
The complaint states that Allen is a police officer with the Constabulary Force. Authorities arrested the suspect after traveling to Jamaica to conduct an interview and search the defendant’s phone.
While searching Allen’s phone, police allege that they discovered evidence of deposits from the Wisconsin victim’s bank account. No court dates have been set yet in Allen’s case.
Scammers often target older victims because they are less likely to have a support network that notices bizarre spending behavior. One of the best ways to prevent these scams is to reach out to parents and grandparents and talk to them. If they mention a lottery program or a friend from abroad to whom they send money, it’s time to get involved and help them end the scam.