Senior cop wants tougher punishment for scammers
Head of Jamaica's Lottery Scam Task Force, Inspector Luhas Daniels, is calling on the justice system to administer harsher sentences to persons who are convicted of scamming.
He believes that tougher measures will only deter criminals from carrying out their illicit acts as, under the current set-up, they are only being "slapped on the wrists" with fines that are significantly less than the amount of money they routinely swindle from targets. According to the sentencing guidelines, depending on the seriousness of the offence, a person could be sentenced between three to 15 years if they are found guilty, or they could be fined. However, Daniels lamented what he considers the soft-handed approach towards the fight against lottery scamming and has called for swift changes.
"We charged man and carry him to court and judge say fine him $100,000 and $150,000. This after we find him with a whole heap a money. The police a do dem work, enuh, but it is the justice system now," he said. "If they are going to fine them, you fine them an exorbitant amount of cash. The fines are miniscule and that is the challenge we are having. When they are taken to court, found guilty or plead guilty, the fine is just a slap on the wrist so they will continue."
The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) reported that on Wednesday, a 24-year-old man, who is a suspected lottery scammer, was arrested during a joint police-military team raid on premises in Montego Bay, St James. The JCF says lawmen seized several items of lottery scamming paraphernalia including several books containing identity information of people residing overseas, two cellular phones and a hard drive. Additionally, the JCF reported that it has charged and placed 17 people from St James before the courts between January 1 and April 29.