BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — U.S. and Jamaican authorities have apprehended another suspect in an alleged multimillion-dollar lottery scam targeting dozens of Americans.
Gregory Gooden, one of four fugitives still being sought in the case, was arrested earlier this week in the Jamaican capital of Kingston, North Dakota U.S. Attorney Chris Myers announced Wednesday. Gooden will not get a court-appointed attorney or enter a plea until being extradited to the U.S. to face charges — a process that dragged on for months with others of the accused in the case.
A total of 15 people are charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering. Nine Jamaican nationals and a U.S. citizen who have pleaded not guilty are scheduled for trial July 17 in federal court in North Dakota. Three other suspects remain fugitives and are believed to be in Jamaica, and another is in custody in the Caribbean nation awaiting extradition.
Authorities allege the scam bilked at least 90 mostly elderly Americans out of more than $5.7 million. The case is being tried in North Dakota because the investigation began in the state more than five years ago.
The suspects are accused of calling victims, persuading them to send money, and wiring the money to bank accounts in Jamaica. Authorities have dubbed the case "Operation Hard Copy," a reference to lists of prospective victims' contact information used by scammers.
Among those awaiting trial this summer is Lavrick Willocks, who authorities allege was the mastermind of the scam. Sanjay Williams, who authorities say was a cohort of Willock's in Jamaica and ran a separate scam, was convicted by a U.S. jury in 2015 and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
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