KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — The House of Representatives in Jamaica has passed a bill this week calling for tougher prosecution of those involved in multimillion-dollar lottery scams that mostly have targeted elderly Americans.
The governor general is expected soon to sign the bill, which the Senate also passed on March 21. The bill targets advanced fee fraud, identity theft and the use of technology for illegally accessing financial accounts. The bill also prohibits making threats and coercing victims over the phone. Those found guilty could face up to 20 years in prison.
Authorities say at least 30,000 calls are made daily from Jamaica to the U.S. as part of the scams. Suspects usually tell victims they've won millions but must first wire payments to cover taxes before they can receive the prize. The scams generate at least $300 million a year.