National Security Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting, has indicated that persons involved in the lottery scam could face extradition to the United States (US), to face charges.
“There is a close working relationship and joint investigations taking place…so it would not surprise me if any of these resulted in an indictment in the US and a subsequent extradition request,” the Minister said, as he addressed journalists at a press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister, on Thursday, March 14.
Mr. Bunting pointed out that the idea of extradition came up repeatedly during the hearing of the recent US Senate Special Committee on Ageing, which discussed the Jamaican lottery scam and its effect on seniors.
He said the US Senators believe that extradition would be an effective tool in helping to send a signal to scammers, that the US law enforcement was taking the issue seriously.
The Minister met with members of the US Congress to submit the Government of Jamaica’s sworn testimony to the committee outlining Jamaica’s efforts to fight lottery scammers.
“The fact that we were able to demonstrate so many tangible initiatives in just the last twelve months, I think, help in making the case that it was now getting the attention it deserves,” Mr. Bunting said.
In the meantime, the Minister is hoping to see increased numbers of successful prosecutions, once the new Law Reform (Fraudulent Transactions) (Special Provisions) Act, 2013, which targets scammers, comes into effect later this month.
“Hopefully, you may even see some prosecution in the United States and collectively, I think, this will have a powerful deterrent on the activity,” Mr. Bunting added.
The new legislation is expected to be passed in the Senate on Friday, March 15, before being signed by the Governor General and gazetted to become law.
Justice Minister, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, said the Bill has received a favourable response from the Business Process Outsourcing Industry Association and players in the remittance business.
“They were relieved to see that something was at last being done to strengthen legislative framework,” Senator Golding said.
By Andrea Braham, JIS Reporter