Extradition orders signed
Way now clear for 8 to be sent to US to face lottery scam charges
Friday, March 31, 2017 41 Comments
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CHUCK… all eight extradition orders were signed within an hour
THE Government has signed requests for eight Jamaicans, including two women, to be extradited to the United States on charges related to a multimillion-dollar lottery scam ring.
An order was made by Parish Judge Vaughn Smith in the St Andrew Parish Court earlier this month when the eight accused — including a former member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force — appeared before him to challenge the request by US authorities.
The ex-policeman, Jason Jahalal, and his co-accused — O’Neil Brown, Dahlia Hunter, Alrick McLeod, Xanu Ann Morgan, Dario Palmer, Karae Gray, and Kimberly Hudson — have each been indicted on 48 counts of wire fraud, 15 counts of mail fraud, one count of conspiracy and attempting to commit wire fraud, and one count of money laundering in North Dakota, United States.
The accused are alleged to be part of a criminal organisation, headed by 27-year-old St James businessman Lavrick Willocks, who was himself extradited to the United States on similar charges in January. Willocks is alleged to have masterminded the lottery scamming network that defrauded a number of Americans of more than US$5 million. He was nabbed at a Kingston hotel and waived his right, before the court, to an extradition hearing.
Justice Minister Delroy Chuck on Wednesday signed the extradition orders, paving the way for extradition proceedings, a release from the ministry said. It is understood that the group are to be sent to a North Dakota facility.
Chuck explained that the orders were signed after a 15-day period had elapsed to ensure that the individuals did not file an appeal before the matter came before him.
“Within an hour of the matter coming to my desk, I examined all the files. One extradition order had an error and had to be redone. All eight were eventually signed within an hour,” the minister noted. The orders were later served on the authorities at the relevant adult correctional centres.
Minister Chuck emphasised that lottery scamming poses a grave danger to national life, businesses, law-abiding communities, and serves to threaten peace and good order in Jamaica, especially in western parishes.
He said the Jamaican Government would continue to work very closely with US authorities to squash the illegal activity, adding that these latest extraditions are a signal to potential scammers and others who continue to benefit from the criminal activity.
Local authorities say the sophisticated schemes allegedly ran by Willocks scammed more than 70, mostly elderly, US citizens out of their money. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering in US District Court in North Dakota, and remains behind bars pending trial.