WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) – The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) says a 30-year-old woman has pleaded guilty for her role in a Jamaica-based lottery fraud scheme in which she impersonated a Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agent.

The DOJ said that Vania Lee Allen pleaded guilty in the Southern District of Georgia to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and false impersonation of an employee of the United States.

Allen faces a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison, the DOJ said. A sentencing date is yet to be scheduled.

“Lottery fraud schemes operating from Jamaica targeting Americans typically get help from at least one co-conspirator in the United States,” said Benjamin C Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.


“Impersonating an FBI agent is just one way fraudsters convince innocent victims that the international lottery is legitimate. It isn’t. The Justice Department will actively pursue and charge those who participate in such criminal activity.”
As part of her guilty plea, the DOJ said Allen acknowledged that she and a co-conspirator in Jamaica sought to unlawfully enrich themselves through a fraudulent lottery scheme targeting an elderly resident of Evans, Georgia.

An indictment charging Allen was filed on March 3, the DOJ said.

As alleged in the indictment, Allen’s co-conspirator falsely informed the victim that he had won money in a lottery and instructed the victim to make payments to various people in order to collect the purported lottery winnings.

As part of her plea agreement, Allen acknowledged that, in order to induce the victim to continue to make payments as directed by her co-conspirator, Allen travelled from Jamaica to the United States to meet with the victim personally and falsely portrayed herself to the victim as an FBI agent, the DOJ said.

It said Allen also acknowledged that, when she met the victim, she falsely portrayed herself as a FBI agent, provided the victim with a cell phone, and directed him to speak with the person on the line, who was Allen’s co-conspirator in Jamaica.

“This conviction shows the extraordinary lengths fraudsters will use to rip off someone in the United States,” said US Attorney Edward J Tarver of the Southern District of Georgia.

“Such schemes will not be tolerated, and we will prosecute fraudsters whether they operate from inside or outside of the United States.”

David W Bosch, Inspector in Charge of the US Postal Inspection Service’s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Division, said the Postal Inspection Service is “dedicated to investigating and combating international lottery schemes, especially since they prey on elderly Americans.

“The Postal Inspection Service is committed to uncovering and pursuing individuals involved in international lottery fraud schemes targeted at victims in the United States,” he said.

The DOJ said this prosecution is part of its effort to work with US federal and local law enforcement to combat fraudulent lottery schemes in Jamaica that prey on US citizens.

According to the US Postal Inspection Service, Americans have lost tens of millions of dollars to fraudulent foreign lotteries.

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