Lottery scammers steal $1.2 million from one victim

Jul 12, 2021, 12:45 pm (15 comments)

Scam Alert

Crook receives six years in prison for crimes of conspiracy and fraud

By Kate Northrop

After stealing over $1 million from one single victim, the leader of a ring of Jamaican scam artists was sentenced Friday to almost six years in prison.

Like any typical scammer, Stieve Fernandez, 35, spent his time deceiving vulnerable individuals and robbing elderly targets of their life savings as part of a high-functioning underground network of lottery fraudsters.

Fernandez was said to have bought lead sheets, which contain the names and telephone numbers of people potentially vulnerable to scams. He would contact individuals on the lists to try to convince them that they had won big in a foreign lottery or sweepstakes. In order to collect their prize, however, they were instructed to pay upfront fake fees disguised as taxes, insurance, handling charges, and various other expenses.

In doing so, he stole $1.2 million from one single victim.

The elderly individual, who resides in Mystic, Connecticut, and whose identity remains anonymous as a crime victim, was first contacted by Fernandez in 2015. Between then and 2018, Fernandez gave the unsuspecting man instructions with an American accent and while under various pseudonyms, such as "Damian Jackson," "Jesse Jackson," and "Huckleberry Finn."

The victim followed Fernandez's instructions by sending him and his accomplices over a million dollars via postal money orders and investment account transfers. He had even gone so far as to buy and transfer gold and silver bars worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Fernandez used the stolen funds to buy a house in Jamaica and a scenic vineyard in Argentina. He kept two dogs at the vineyard and named them after his wife and the Mystic victim he deceived.

"They were the people whose money had paid for them," the prosecution said he bragged to a co-conspirator.

That was just one case of fraud. According to prosecutors, Fernandez carried out similar lottery scams against four other elderly individuals. He successfully swindled $684,500 from them and had attempted to steal an additional $222,000.

He was also suspected of working with a girlfriend living in Canada, a cousin believed to have resided in Florida, and two other associates. The cousin, Horace Crooks, was sentenced to a year in prison in June, while his girlfriend, Minique Morris, awaits sentencing.

In October 2018, Fernandez and his associates were indicted by a New Haven grand jury. He was arrested in Jamaica in May 2019, was extradited to the United States, and has been detained since.

The crook tried to argue in court that he was just "a simple farmer" and "a devoted family man" who "was brought up in the violence of gangland Jamaica." He recalled that his younger brother was "stabbed more than sixty times, shot more than thirty times and set on fire because he could not pay extortion money" and talked about being "captured and tortured by a local gang."

He said that he was also self-taught in "computer repair, audio engineering, and Bonsai art."

In February of this year, Fernandez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. On Friday, he was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley to 71 months in prison and was ordered to pay $1,196,207 in restitution.

Lottery Post Staff

Comments

noise-gate

if you "giving away $1.2 million" to receive a whole lot more, and you get duped in the process, you only got yourself to blame.Eek

darthfury78

I fell victim to a similar scam back in 2004.Red Devil

I lost around $4600.00.Dupe Alert

It was the Nigerian lottery scam for $7 Million, which I foolishly believed to be real.Bang Head

Goes to show that knowledge helps to avoid being a scam victim.Spam

What surprised me was the fact they wanted $92K for the wire transfer.Mad

Then they changed their fee to $10K. P***ed 

Never again. Mail For You

noise-gate

Quote: Originally posted by darthfury78 on Jul 12, 2021

I fell victim to a similar scam back in 2004.Red Devil

I lost around $4600.00.Dupe Alert

It was the Nigerian lottery scam for $7 Million, which I foolishly believed to be real.Bang Head

Goes to show that knowledge helps to avoid being a scam victim.Spam

What surprised me was the fact they wanted $92K for the wire transfer.Mad

Then they changed their fee to $10K. P***ed 

Never again. Mail For You

" Such honesty is rarely seen" - Plato Approve

Bleudog101

Too bad that sentencing didn't include, somehow, a provision that if restitution is not paid, you get more prison time slapped on.  Scamming the elderly, shame on them.

Banks in general do not care if you withdraw large sums of money apparently.   Once in a blue moon a family member will step in and stop it.  An alert caring bank employee could see a pattern...key word caring.

gvpazkn

I bet they never collect a dime in restitution from this scammer.

Stack47

Quote: Originally posted by gvpazkn on Jul 12, 2021

I bet they never collect a dime in restitution from this scammer.

I Agree!

And one would think someone intelligent to accumulate over $1 should be smart enough not to just give it away.

rcbbuckeye's avatarrcbbuckeye

I never could understand how someone could be duped like that, making several transfers at that. You would think he would know better. The scammers must be really smooth talkers.

Mata Garbo

I feel sorry for the victims but ...........One of the names this scammer used was "Huckleberry Finn" How is it that a lightbulb does not go off when you hear that name?. Most people would think "wait a minute, either this guy is some type of scammer or his grandfather was Mark Twain". "You know I probably should not be sending him a million dollars." So the crook got six years. Well considering what happened to his younger brother he should consider himself very lucky.

Thinking of...Surrender

MrLotto$

From one victim? Really? That victim was stupid not sorry to say... If you have a million to pay out within all of that time they claimed it was what do you need to worry about Lottery money for? your're rich already.. wish I could find a victim like that

MrLotto$

Yeah that victim was a dummy

KY Floyd's avatarKY Floyd

"and "Huckleberry Finn." "

I already figured from the headline that the victim couldn't be all that bright, but seriously? The scammer must have been at a point where he was willing to risk losing future money just to see how gullible the guy was.

Stat$talker's avatarStat$talker

People need to start USING their "Caller ID" feature on their phone..Thumbs Up.if you don't recognize the phone number having a FAMILIAR Name associated with it?,.. simply No No  DON'T ANSWER IT..!!

Scammers can't get you to do ANYTHING , No Nod if they NEVER talk to you...!!

Personally, I never answer ANY call in which I don't recognize the number...PERIOD..!!  Why?....

Because... IT'S SCAM PROOF..!! Cheers

 

-Stat$talker 

Bleudog101

Quote: Originally posted by Stat$talker on Jul 13, 2021

People need to start USING their "Caller ID" feature on their phone..Thumbs Up.if you don't recognize the phone number having a FAMILIAR Name associated with it?,.. simply No No  DON'T ANSWER IT..!!

Scammers can't get you to do ANYTHING , No Nod if they NEVER talk to you...!!

Personally, I never answer ANY call in which I don't recognize the number...PERIOD..!!  Why?....

Because... IT'S SCAM PROOF..!! Cheers

 

-Stat$talker 

Good points but many elder folks are old school and may not have Caller ID.    Some companies on their message still say 'don't have touch tone, remain on the line.'

 

We love messing with these folks and am so disappointed that a lottery scammer has never called.  They get so angry, especially when they introduce themselves and I say 'Mr. Patel, how are you?'   Here by myself landline goes to facsimile after four rings and message capability long turned off!

Coin Toss's avatarCoin Toss

From the book Scam Me Of You Cam 

by Frank Abagnale, author of Catch Me If You Can

Most common lottery scam victims;

Most likely to be single, have less than a college education and annual income income is less than $50,000

p11

This is a 2019 book

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