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PRESS RELEASE: Jamaican Man, Paul Laing, Sentenced to 10 Years in Lottery Fraud Scheme

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 5, 2016

Jamaican Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Lottery Fraud Scheme

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Paul Laing, 31, of Sandy Bay, Jamaica, was sentenced today to 10 years in prison for conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, in connection with his leadership role in an extensive Jamaican lottery fraud scheme. Laing was also ordered to pay $705,500 in forfeiture and restitution to victims of his offense.

Laing pleaded guilty on Oct. 16, 2015. According to a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Laing admitted to defrauding numerous elderly victims, including an 85-year-old woman who resided in Great Falls. Laing would contact his victims via phone calls and faxes and falsely inform them that they had won the lottery. He would then tell them that in order to collect their winnings they would need to send money to him and his co-conspirators to pay various alleged taxes and fees. Laing instructed victims to send funds through wire transfers, the US Mail and other means directly to him in Jamaica, or to co-conspirators in the United States. Those co-conspirators would keep a portion of the proceeds and then transfer the remainder to Laing.

Through this scheme, Laing received hundreds of thousands of dollars from his victims, several of whom depleted their life savings to satisfy his repeated demands for payment. Meanwhile, none of the victims ever received the lottery winnings that Laing had promised them.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Maria L. Kelokates, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and Terence S. Opiola, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Newark, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, III. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Samantha P. Bateman, Karen Ledbetter Taylor, and Gene Rossi prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:14cr416.

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