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Jamaican man defrauded elderly US couple out of US$320,000

By Jamaica Gleaner

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(JAMAICA GLEANER) — A Jamaican man is now facing a long prison sentence and deportation following his second conviction in the United States on charges related to a prize scam.

Kevin Palmer, 37, who resides in Suwanee County, Georgia, was sentenced last Friday to three years and ten months in prison for using the prize scam to fleece an elderly couple out of US$320,000.

Palmer pleaded guilty in March to 12 counts of mail fraud and one count of mail fraud conspiracy.

He was also ordered to pay US$321,342 in restitution to the elderly couple and warned that his legal status in the US is now in jeopardy.

“As a result of his guilty plea, Palmer’s lawful status in the United States may be revoked, and he may be removed to Jamaica,” the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York said in a statement announcing the conviction and sentence.

During Friday’s sentencing hearing, Palmer also admitted that in 2010 he was convicted in New York for using a similar prize scam to fraudulently obtain money from persons who were led to believe that they had won the lottery or sweepstakes.

He was given a 90-day prison sentence for that crime.

Palmer detailed in court how in 2017 the elderly Georgia couple was contacted through email and telephone and told they needed to send money in order to obtain an inheritance and tax refund as well as to claim lottery and sweepstakes prize money.

As a result, the Albany County couple mailed bank cheques to addresses in Georgia, including to Palmer’s residence.

They mailed a total of 12 cheques.

Ten were made payable to Palmer and all 12 were deposited to bank accounts for which the Jamaican was a signatory.

Palmer admitted in court that his role in the scheme was to receive cheques sent by the couple, deposit them and then distribute the cash among his cronies.

“He admitted to keeping ten to 15 per cent of the fraud proceeds for himself and sending the remainder to co-conspirators overseas,” according to the statement from the US Attorney’s Office.

The presiding judge, in handing down the sentence, blasted Palmer as “the worst kind of defendant in my eyes.”

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