Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Devon Watkis, is imploring Jamaicans to expose lotto scammers, as they are detrimental to the country’s image, and are affecting persons at home and abroad.
“To take away, or trick someone to relieve them of their assets is an issue. It is time for us as a people to be satisfied with what we earn in a productive way,” Mr. Watkis said, while addressing a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank, held on June 27, at the Montego Bay Regional Office, in St. James.
“What we have found, is that the persons engaged in the illegal lotto scam are willing to acquire and possess firearms and ammunition. Even if the initial intention is not to use them, situations always force persons to use them. If your sons or your daughters are involved, I want to implore them to stop this activity. It is dangerous for them, because somewhere down the line, the law will catch them,” he warned.
The ACP disclosed that the recent drive to rid the country of lotto scammers has resulted in the seizure of 82 vehicles, J$7 million and US$152,000, with 175 persons taken into custody. “Some 43 of those persons have been charged and are before the court,” he informed.
“This is an example of what persons engaged in the lotto scam must face; also those involved in gang activities,” he said.
The Senior Police Officer stressed that the possibility of the owners retrieving the seized properties is minute, as although they are in the names of other persons, they too will be unable to provide their source of funds used to acquire the assets.
“Claiming those assets is really a challenge, because if they come forward to say they are the owners, they can’t support it. Those taken under the law will go through the process and will become the property of the State. We have had a lot of those,” Mr. Watkis said.
In order to prevent unauthorised persons using premises left unoccupied for long periods for criminal purposes, he is advising that owners should inform the local police when they are leaving.
“You can also ask relatives or some good citizens to occupy it in your absence. You can also equip your premises with technology, if you can afford it,” the ACP advised.
By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter