Three charged in Sweepstakes scam targeting elderly victims

Posted on December 24, 2019 by Staff reports

Three Bay County men – Delroy Williams, 52, of Lynn Haven, Vivian Walters, 33, of Lynn Haven, and Jevaughn Williams, 22, of Panama City Beach – were sentenced on federal fraud charges stemming from activities meant to induce elderly victims with false promises of sweepstakes prizes. The sentences were announced today by Lawrence Keefe, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

The three men pleaded guilty in June to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail
fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count of mail fraud. Jevaughn Williams was sentenced to 30
months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release, while Walters and Delroy
Williams were sentenced to 36 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised

“It is hard to fathom how some deceitful criminals have no problem preying on innocent victims,
especially those they consider most vulnerable because they are elderly. The U.S. Attorney’s Office
has a message for these criminals: We will find you, we will prosecute you, and we will put you
away,” Keefe said.

Since the late 1990s, telemarketers in Jamaica have been engaging in a scam in which they contact
victims in the United States and falsely claim their targets have won large sweepstakes prizes.
Victims, who are primarily elderly, are induced to send cash or cash equivalents in order to
release their supposed prizes. The victims’ funds are often transported by wire transfers and
United States Postal Service packages.

Between 2014 and 2017, the defendants conspired together to receive wire transfers and packages
mailed by victims. They then took a percentage of the funds for themselves before forwarding the
remainder to co-conspirators in Jamaica. Multiple victims have been identified through wire
transfer records and searches of the defendants’ electronic devices.

“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service will continue to pursue justice on behalf of our elderly
customers by thoroughly investigating lottery scams and those involved with victimizing U.S.
Citizens,” stated Miami Division Inspector in Charge Tony Gomez.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Harwin and Michelle Daffin prosecuted the case following a joint
investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Lynn Haven Police Department.