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Lottery scammers steal $1.2 million from one victim

Jul 12, 2021, 12:45 pm

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Scam AlertScam Alert: Lottery scammers steal $1.2 million from one victimRating:

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.

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14 comments. Last comment 4 days ago by Coin Toss.
Page 1 of 1
Avatar
Chasing $ Millions.
White Shores- California
United States
Member #136471
December 12, 2012
6681 Posts
Offline

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

 * Voice of Reason *   

* The Truth Hurts *

People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

    Avatar
    homestead
    United States
    Member #158175
    August 14, 2014
    507 Posts
    Offline

    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

      Avatar
      Chasing $ Millions.
      White Shores- California
      United States
      Member #136471
      December 12, 2012
      6681 Posts
      Offline

      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

       * Voice of Reason *   

      * The Truth Hurts *

      People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

        Avatar
        Simpsonville
        United States
        Member #163182
        January 22, 2015
        2632 Posts
        Offline

        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.

          Avatar
          Albuquerque, New Mexico
          United States
          Member #3837
          February 24, 2004
          29 Posts
          Offline

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

          Albuquerque, New Mexico

           

          Party

            Avatar
            Kentucky
            United States
            Member #32651
            February 14, 2006
            9210 Posts
            Online

            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.

            It's not my fault! I voted for Amy.

              rcbbuckeye's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
              100
              Texas
              United States
              Member #55887
              October 23, 2007
              11517 Posts
              Offline

              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.

              CAN'T WIN IF YOU'RE NOT IN

              A DOLLAR AND A DREAM (OR $2)

                Avatar
                Gallatin Tennesee
                United States
                Member #194096
                November 29, 2018
                48 Posts
                Offline

                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

                  Avatar
                  Bronx ny
                  United States
                  Member #209099
                  August 20, 2020
                  35 Posts
                  Offline

                  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

                    Avatar
                    Bronx ny
                    United States
                    Member #209099
                    August 20, 2020
                    35 Posts
                    Offline

                    Yeah that victim was a dummy

                      Avatar
                      NY
                      United States
                      Member #23834
                      October 16, 2005
                      4432 Posts
                      Offline

                      "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 avatar - animated sphere.gif
                        700 light yrs West of Milky Way Galaxy's Center
                        United States
                        Member #200642
                        September 1, 2019
                        1192 Posts
                        Offline

                        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 

                        ...MATH... The final Stochastic frontier...

                        These are the Lottery Voyages of Stat$talker..!!

                        The ongoing Mission,..to seek out the Laws of "Probability Math"...

                         to master its rules to invoke...to Conquer ALL Major Jackpots..!!

                        ...To boldly go,... Where NO Player has gone before...!!

                          Avatar
                          Simpsonville
                          United States
                          Member #163182
                          January 22, 2015
                          2632 Posts
                          Offline

                          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 avatar - shape barbed.jpg
                            100
                            Zeta Reticuli Star System
                            United States
                            Member #30469
                            January 17, 2006
                            11580 Posts
                            Offline

                            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

                            Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any. So many systems, so many theories, so few jackpot winners. 

                            Lep

                            There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.