Georgia woman arrested in scam of Kosciusko County couple

The suspect had previously been a victim of a Jamaican lottery scam.
Posted on May 22, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on May 22, 2013 at 1:31 p.m.

KOSCIUSKO COUNTY — Kosciusko County Sheriff’s detectives drove to Georgia last week and arrested a woman on four felony counts after an elderly Kosciusko County couple were scammed out of thousands of dollars in a “Jamaican lottery.”

Joanne Karene McCrary, 74, of Calhoun, Ga., was arrested on preliminary charges of two counts of felony money laundering and two counts of felony theft.

Jamaican lottery scams are common scams where victims are contacted and informed that they have won an international lottery or sweepstakes. The scammers tell the victims that in order to receive their winnings, they must be advance fees such as insurance, customs duties or taxes.

The local couple discovered that their social security checks were being diverted to a location in Georgia. The sheriff’s detectives followed the money trail to McCrary, who was transferring the stolen money, putting the money onto bank cards and mailing them to Jamaica.

McCrary had previously been a victim of the scams and detectives say she was a “mule” for the Jamaican criminals.

Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department is working with officials from several federal organizations to locate other potential victims and help stop Jamaican lottery scams.

Police warn citizens to be aware of constant telemarketing scams, especially from phone calls with an 876 (Jamaica) area code. More information is available on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website.

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