Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, says legislation to prosecute persons involved in the illegal lottery scam will be passed by the end of March.
He noted that the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transactions) (Special Provisions) Act, 2012, was tabled in the House of Representatives on February 26 by Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting.
“This Bill targets advanced fee fraud, and makes the possession of paraphernalia involved in scamming an offence. It targets identity theft and the dishonest use of access devices, a defined term taken from the US Criminal Code, which covers present and future technologies for accessing financial accounts,” the Minister said.
He was delivering the keynote address at a breakfast forum staged by the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ), at Sandals, in Montego Bay, on February 28.
Senator Golding added that the legislation would also prohibit the use of threats and intimidation over the telephone, or intent to coerce victims to part with funds; and make it an offence to own or control premises from which scamming is conducted.
He said the Government is determined to eliminate lottery scamming in the country, but there are gaps in the current laws, which make it almost impossible to convict lotto scammers.
“The new law represents a focused and concerted legislative effort, along with amendments to come with the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), to finally and swiftly get convictions and seizure of properties owned by scammers,” the Minister said.
“The Minister of National Security will make an order amending POCA, so that persons convicted under the new lotto scam legislation will face the full brunt of the asset forfeiture provisions. The order is already drafted and will be signed and gazetted as soon as the lotto scam Bill is passed by Parliament,” he told the audience.
Meanwhile, Senator Golding said that legislation passed to allow testimony in a Jamaican court via video link, is also an important initiative. He said this will allow victims who are often unwilling or unable to travel to Jamaica to give evidence in the criminal trial of scammers, can give their testimony from their home jurisdiction.