Lottery scams prey on the vulnerable and help fuel violence in Jamaica

Shirley thought she had made a new friend. The elderly Maine resident would don a dress and jewels and wait at the back door for the charming young Jamaican man she had met over the phone.

The couple had developed a long-distance relationship after he called to say she had won $24m US and a new car in a lottery. He appeared untroubled by Shirley’s dementia and asked for a picture of her.

But he never appeared. Instead, he harassed Shirley and her family with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of phone calls in a complicated scam that eventually led her to lose more than $200,000 and her home.


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