TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – David Murray of Chattahoochee, Florida, was sentenced today to 42 months imprisonment for acting as a money mule for a Jamaican Operation Linked to Telecommunications (JOLT), commonly referred to as a Jamaican Lottery scam. Lawrence Keefe, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced the sentence.
A money mule is a person who helps criminals commit financial fraud. Sometimes mules are unwitting victims, but in this case Murray was a knowing participant in the illegal activity, which victimized an elderly woman.
“These criminals prey on unsuspecting victims, convincing them to place their trust in people who only have their own self-interest in mind,” U.S. Attorney Keefe said. “As long as these scams continue, we will work to stop them and prosecute the perpetrators.”
In November 2018, the victim was contacted repeatedly by individuals from Jamaica who falsely told her she had won the Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes. The victim was told she needed to send money to Murray, 66, to pay the taxes on her winnings before her prize could be sent to her. In response to the phone calls, the victim wrote a check and mailed it to Murray using the United States Postal Service.
A United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) investigation determined that Murray was receiving money from numerous victims via check, wire, and cash. Murray kept a portion of the stolen money before laundering the rest by wiring it to Jamaica. The evidence showed that Murray sent more than $69,000 to Jamaica over the course of his participation in the scam.
“Postal Inspectors will continue the fight of protecting our elderly and will continue to prosecute those who prey upon them,” said Inspector in Charge Antonio Gomez, of the USPIS Miami Division.
Murray was arrested in September 2020, and pled guilty to charges of Mail Fraud and International Money Laundering. Murray’s 42 month prison sentence will be followed by 3 years of supervised release. This sentencing resulted from the collaborative efforts of USPIS and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida.
Beware of telephone calls or other solicitations asking you to send a check, wire transfer, or other payment to anyone you do not know within or outside the United States. Although lottery winnings may be subject to taxes, legitimate lottery operations simply deduct a portion of the winnings in lieu of the tax payment. Both the USPIS and the Federal Trade Commission investigate fraudulent lottery solicitations. To report a fraudulent lottery scam, visit https://www.uspis.gov/report/ or www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.