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April 29, 2021Tucson, AZ, United StatesFinancial Crimes

Woman who targeted the elderly in a lottery scam sentenced to 2 years in prison

TUCSON, Ariz. – A woman living in Provo, Utah, was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison for her participation in an illegal Jamaican-based lottery scheme in which she targeted the elderly. The case was investigated by multiple law enforcement agencies including Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Tucson.

Shanelle Bailey, 23, of Jamaica, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Rosemary Marquez after pleading guilty Oct. 10, 2020, to Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering.

“This sentence is the result of a dynamic, coordinated investigative effort by law enforcement and our judicial partners to bring these types of criminals to justice,” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge for HSI Phoenix. “These types of crimes have devastating effects on the victims and our financial institutions. HSI will continue to aggressively investigate charlatans who prey on the vulnerable to perpetuate financial crimes.”

According to court documents, Bailey participated in a scheme where Jamaican-based scammers called elderly victims in the United States, claiming the victims had won a lottery. To receive their winnings, the victims were told they must first pay money for taxes and fees. Bailey’s role in this scheme was to launder the fraudulent proceeds for fellow co-conspirators in Jamaica. The loss suffered by the victims exceeded $600,000.

As part of her sentence, Bailey will also be required to pay restitution in the amount of $80,850 to the victims in the case.

HSI encourages the public to be wary of similar scams and to verify with law enforcement and family members before sending money after a phone solicitation, to include lottery or other computer related scams. To report a crime, you may submit an anonymous tip by calling the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Tipline at 866-DHS-2423, or filling out an ICE Tip Form.

The following agencies assisted in this investigation: The Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the Federal Trade Commission, the United States Postal Inspection Service, FBI, HSI and the Pima County Sherriff’s Office. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, Tucson, handled the prosecution.

HSI is a directorate and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.