BISMARCK, N.D. – The Associated Press is reporting that the last two Jamaican fugitives involved in a major lottery scam that defrauded mostly elderly Americans out of millions of dollars have been arrested by and processed for extradition to face charges in the US by Jamaica’s Counter-Terrorism and Fugitive Apprehension Team.
The suspects have been identified as Mario Hines who was arrested on January 9th and Gareth Billings who was taken into custody on February 23rd.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Clare Hochhalter, both men have waived their right to fight extradition to the U.S. Hines has already been extradited and made made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in North Dakota on March 2, where the case is being prosecuted. He was ordered held until trial.
Billings, however, is still in Jamaica awaiting extradition.
According to the authorities, the two men have been on the run for years and are among a group of 15 suspects facing prosecution in North Dakota in what is believed to be the first large-scale Jamaican lottery scam tried in U.S. courts. Reports are that at least 90 Americans lost a total of more than $5.7 million to the scam.
The federal investigation resulted in charges of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering laid against 27 people, all of which have pleaded guilty or have been convicted except Hines and Billings.
Story originally published by the Associated Press (AP). Author Blake Nicholson