Alleged lottery scam 'ring leader' found hiding in hotel's garden

Alleged lottery scam 'ring leader' found hiding in hotel's garden

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                                                                                 Lavrick Willocks
 
 KINGSTON, Jamaica — The police say one of the major players in the illicit lottery scam, who was wanted for extradition to the United States of America, was taken into custody following an operation on Saturday.

He is 27-year-old of Lavrick Willocks of a Greenwood address in Trelawny, who the police say has been wanted for extradition since March of this year. A woman, who the police have identified as 23-year-old Panamanian Aylin Panay, was also arrested.

A news release from the United States Embassy said Monday that Panay is a known associate of Willocks who is being held on immigration charges.

The US Embassy said Willocks’ extradition from Jamaica was requested for him to face charges for allegedly leading a ring which defrauded tens of millions of dollars from America’s most vulnerable citizens.

His arrest, the embassy said, is the culmination of many hours of investigation by US and Jamaican law enforcement officers.

The police say that earlier this year, a major operation was conducted in western Jamaica, the Corporate Area and St Mary to capture Willocks and his associates. Nineteen people were taken into custody, including seven of whom extradition warrants were executed on.

The police say Willocks managed to elude the police then and has been on the run since.

But on Saturday, five members of the Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Investigation Branch (C-TOC) and Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency carried out another operation in the Corporate Area to arrest him.

The police say he was captured in a hotel in Kingston where he was found hiding in a garden.

A search of his hotel room also reportedly yielded US$10,000, several electronic devices and jewellery, which were seized by the police.

Willocks will appear before the court on Tuesday, November 8.

In the meantime, United States Ambassador to Jamaica Luis G Moreno said: "Together with our Jamaican partners, we will bring lottery scammers to justice. They prey on America’s most vulnerable citizens and undermine the rule of law in Jamaica.

"This operation is yet another example of the unprecedented cooperation between the law enforcement agencies of our two countries. After brave Jamaican citizens provided the critical intelligence on the locations that Mr Willocks frequented, the JFAT-MOCA (Jamaica Fugitive Apprehension Team (JFAT) and the Major Organized Crime Anti-Corruption Agency) team spent over two weeks on surveillance. Their many sleepless nights paid off and Mr Willocks is in custody as a result of their tenacious and relentless effort. We look forward to swift his extradition under our treaty arrangements. More indictments are coming," the ambassador said.

Willocks is one of six Jamaicans accused of bilking approximately 80 elderly Americans out of more than US$5.5 million in what is described as “an international lottery fraud scheme” that ran for just over six years.

The JCF and the United States continue to seek the arrest of his other alleged conspirators: Mario Hines, 23; Akil Gray, 26; Gregory Gooden, 34; Tristan Fisher, 29; and Gareth Billings, 37.

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| 961 views | November, 8th, 2016
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