Man convicted of lottery scamming, money laundering by jury in St Catherine

By Hanan Redwan Published on June 01, 2022
Man convicted of lottery scamming, money laundering by jury in St Catherine

Kemar Townsend was on Monday convicted by a jury in the St Catherine Circuit Court of lottery scamming and money laundering.

After 30 minutes, the seven-member jury returned a unanimous verdict of guilty on the charges of conspiracy to obtain money by false pretence, possession of criminal property and engaging in a transaction involving criminal property.

Townsend is to be sentenced by Justice Bertram Morrison, who presided over the two-week trial, on June 17.

The complainant, a 72 year-old United States citizen, testified via video link that she received several telephone calls from at least two persons informing her that she had won the lottery: a total of US$682 million, three motor vehicles and US$297,000 in refunds.

She further testified that she was instructed by one of the callers that the funds were being housed in Jamaica and therefore she had to send money to the island to claim her prizes.

In order to claim her prizes, the complainant, on three separate occasions, sent money to a local bank account held by Townsend.

The evidence from the representative of the local bank, where Townsend had the account, showed that the sums were in fact sent by the complainant via wire transfer to his bank account.

The exhibits showed that Townsend received, used and withdrew the money sent by the complainant

The matter was investigated and Townsend was arrested and charged in 2018.

Townsend gave evidence that he thought the money received in his bank account were sent by his lover who resided in Switzerland as his lover would usually send large sums of cash to him.

He further testified that he did not know that these sums were sent by the complainant or that they were criminal property.

He indicated that he was expecting funds from his lover around the same time that the complainant sent the money to his bank account.

However, Townsend admitted under cross-examination that he did not make any mention of his lover to the investigating officer or what he believed was the source of the money.

He testified further that, since his arrest, he has not seen or heard from his lover.

Townsend was represented by attorney-at-law Davion Vassell while the matter was prosecuted by Judi-Ann Edwards, Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, and Domonique Martin, Crown Counsel.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions noted that this prosecution was historic in that this was the first time that it has conducted a trial on one indictment before a jury in respect of these offences at the same time.

Usually, offences under the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transaction) (Special Provision) Act, 2015 (commonly referred to as lotto scamming) are tried by a judge alone in the Circuit Court and offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act are tried by a judge alone in the Parish Court.

Hanan Redwan

Hanan Redwan

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