Woman accused in Jamaican lottery scam pleads not guilty

2015-08-21 11:14

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Fargo - A woman accused of helping a man who was convicted for spearheading a Jamaican lottery scam that bilked dozens of mostly elderly people out of their retirement savings has pleaded not guilty.

Melinda Bulgin, of Providence, Rhode Island, made her first appearance in federal court on Wednesday for a hearing on numerous charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. A trial date has not been set.

Authorities say Bulgin handled money on behalf of Lavrick Willocks and Sanjay Williams, described as leaders of two separate scamming operations based in Jamaica. Williams was found guilty in May; Willocks has been charged but not extradited to the United States.

Bulgin's attorney, Kevin Chapman, and federal prosecutors did not respond to requests for comment.

Jamaican lottery scams have been happening for years, but are rarely prosecuted as widely as the North Dakota case. It began when an FBI agent from North Dakota interviewed a Harvey woman who said she lost close to $300 000 in the scam. The investigation led authorities to about 70 people throughout the country who were defrauded out a total of more than $5m.

An FBI affidavit shows that someone in Wisconsin was instructed to send cashier's checks for nearly $34 000 to Bulgin, including two checks payable to her and one check payable to her mother. A person from Arizona allegedly wired Bulgin $25 000 after scammers said the money was needed to cover federal taxes for a $5m prize, documents said.

Williams faces sentencing in October. Authorities say he was primarily a "lead broker" in the scam who bought and sold "sucker lists" of potential victims.

Bulgin sent at least three wire transfers to people who worked for Williams as "runners" to pick up the money, according to court documents.

Read more on:    jamaica

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.