COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Ten people, most of them residents of Little River, were charged in a complaint alleging a conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, according to U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles.
The complaint, unsealed Tuesday after the arrests of nine of the defendants, alleges the scam targeted elderly victims around the country, notifying them they won a lottery or sweepstakes, but needed to pay fees in advance in order to receive their winnings. The complaint alleges that more than 200 individuals were victimized and paid more than $1 million to receive their non-existent lottery prizes. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum prison term of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000. The defendants and their last known city of residence are:
- Wayne Duffus, 28, currently incarcerated, formerly of Little River
- Rajah Robinson, age 28, Little River
- Shadiki Brown, Little River
- Lorenzo Samuels, 27, Riverdale, Ga.
- Davion Bellamy, 25, Conway
- LeGrant Allen, 29, Little River
- Damion McLeish, 33, North Myrtle Beach
- Ann Marie Yapp, 43, North Myrtle Beach
- Denisha Robinson, 26, Little River
- Quashinda Godbolt, 36, Conway
Defendant Lorenzo Samuels was arrested Tuesday morning in Georgia and was scheduled to appear before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Atlanta at 2 p.m. The other eight arrestees will make their initial appearances in Florence at 2:30 p.m.
The case was investigated by special agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Inspectors with the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).
“These individuals stand accused of preying on some of the most vulnerable members in our communities in their callous quest for money," said Brock D. Nicholson, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Atlanta. "We will continue to work with our partners at the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office and other law enforcement agencies to put these criminal enterprises out of business.”
“The United States Postal Inspection Service is dedicated to combating Jamaican foreign lottery scams across the U.S. and here in South Carolina. Those who attempt to utilize the U.S. Mails to prey on Americans, especially the elderly, are pursued to the fullest extent of the law by U.S. Postal Inspectors,Keith A. Fixel, Inspector in Charge of the Charlotte Division said. "Working alongside our law enforcement partners, this case is an example of agencies joining forces to protect the public and demonstrates the far reaching arm of law enforcement to identify those responsible and hold them accountable.”
Assistant United States Attorneys A. Bradley Parham and Eric Klumb are prosecuting the case.
The United States Attorney stated the charges alleged in the complaint are merely accusations and that all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.