United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Her Excellency Pamela Bridgewater, has expressed satisfaction with the extent of work being undertaken by Jamaican and United States law enforcement agencies to reduce and, ultimately, eliminate the lottery scam.
Speaking at a Lottery Scam Forum, hosted by Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), at the Terra Nova Hotel in St. Andrew on Wednesday (November 7),
Mrs. Bridgewater noted that United States law enforcement agencies have been working "closely and vigorously" with their Jamaican counterparts in collaborative efforts to combat the scam, since it surfaced several years ago.
She pointed to a special task force established within the US Embassy, comprising US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Postal Service, which has been leading the support extended by the US to Jamaica. These agencies, she added, have been working “very diligently” with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Customs Department.
“We also work on programmes, projects and operations in the United States with the cooperation of the JCF, and we work on cases in our own country (for which our authorities) will request extradition. We (also) work with the JCF on local investigations, (and) continue with ongoing identification and intelligence sharing,” the Ambassador informed.
In outlining the extent and impact of the lottery scam, Mrs. Bridgewater said data generated by the US Federal Trade Commission from reports filed, showed that American citizens, who were victims, were fleeced of upwards of US$42 million by scammers in Jamaica, over a three-year period, ending 2011.
This, she pointed out, amounted to an average of just over US$20 million per year for the period. Citing examples, she said 18 victims were reported in South Florida, from whom some US$5.5 million were fleeced, averaging approximately US$69 million per person.
She said the US Government is pleased to partner with the Jamaican authorities, noting that, “we are making progress”.
"I am (also) pleased about the legislation that we understand is going to be taking effect (in Jamaica),” she said.
Ambassador Bridgewater warned lottery fraudsters that they are not outside and beyond the reach of the law, pointing out that “they are simply dead wrong, if they think so".
“It is not an easy road, but the impact is being felt (and) there is much more to be done. I pledge our commitment to continue (our efforts), so that we can win this war with a comprehensive strategy that addresses both enforcement and prevention, which are needed. We won’t stop until justice prevails,” Mrs. Bridgewater assured.