JIS News

Lotto scammers in Jamaica would soon be extradited to face charges overseas.

National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, said it is his understanding that a number of cases are being worked on by foreign law enforcement agencies.  Extraction falls under the Ministry of Justice. 

“I would not be surprised if in due course, we see extradition requests coming,” he told journalists yesterday (Sept. 20), during a tour of crime hotspots in the parish of St. James.

He said the government is committed to “breaking the back” of the lotto scam, which he argued, it at the heart of the crime situation in the parish. He said that St. James has more than twice the murders of any other parish. 

“It is much worse than Kingston and St. Andrew, or St. Catherine, and the fuel for a lot of these crimes come from the lotto scam operation, either directly or indirectly,” he pointed out.

He informed that work is being advanced on legislation, which will enable law enforcement to bring a broader range of charges against scammers.

“We are doing some amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) and ultimately, I think we may need to put in a specific piece of legislation to deal with the various types of ‘advance fee fraud’ including lotto scamming,” he stated.

“There are amendments that will require a bill to be taken to Parliament, and we hope to do that within a couple months, but there are entirely new pieces of legislation which are required, which will probably take until sometime in 2013 before we will be able to bring those to Parliament,” he informed.

He stated that additional police and military personnel have been deployed to the parish, which has brought a “substantial reduction” in the rate of murders.

“It is still early, but I anticipate that if we can maintain that deployment over a sustained period, we will be able to normalize the violent crime situation in St. James for the time being, but long-term, if we are to sustain any successes we have, we have to break the back of the lotto scamming operations, because that continues to fuel criminality right across the parish,” he stated.

Accompanying the Minister on the tour were: Commissioner of Police, Owen Ellington; Assistant Commissioner of Police in Charge of Area one, Devon Watkiss; and Superintendent of Police in charge of the St. James division, Andrew Lewis.