Jamaica: Crackdown on obeah scammers

Jamaica Observer:-MONTEGO BAY, St James – Members of the Lottery Scam Task Force are reporting a new trend emerging among more and more scammers — practising obeah to guard them from the long arm of the law.

But last week a couple found out that the potions were not strong enough to stave off members of the Lottery Scam Task Force who swooped down on them during a pre-dawn anti-lottery operation in the inner city of Rose Heights, St James.

According to Sergeant Kevin Watson, the media liaison officer of the Lottery Scam Task Force, the man and his Haitian wife confessed that they were voodoo practitioners after a variety of oils, believed to be used in voodoo rituals, were found hidden at their home.

“We arrested a man and his Haitian wife for their involvement in lottery scamming. During the operation we observed a little area, like a makeshift voodoo shrine, with various oils and the names of persons on pieces of paper,” Sergeant Watson told the Jamaica Observer West.

“The man admitted that he is a spiritual worker. His wife is a Haitian, and she said voodoo is in her blood.”

Last year, the St James police revealed that two clergymen who were gunned down offered “spiritual” protection services to scammers for a price.

Meanwhile, Sergeant Watson disclosed that since the start of this year, more than 30 people have been arrested for breaches of the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transaction) (Special Provisions) Act, 2013, commonly called the Lottery Scam Act.

He explained that these people were nabbed during operations across the parishes of Trelawny, St James, Hanover, and Westmoreland — the parishes that make up the Police Area One.

Of this 30 individuals, more than 20 were taken into custody between Wednesday and Saturday of last week.

During Saturday morning’s operation in Wiltshire, Trelawny, five people were arrested.

“We recovered mostly cellphones, documents containing identity information of persons overseas, cash amounting to US$3,500 and J$400,000 at one location,” the task force media liaison officer revealed.

He also informed the Observer West that one of the five detained in the Wiltshire raid revealed that he successfully completed a Jamaica Constabulary Force recruitment entrance test.

“Of the five persons we arrested in Trelawny, Saturday morning, one of the young men at one of the premises indicated he did the police test. We want to ensure that we don’t recruit persons of questionable character joining the police force. He expressed that he took the police test and that he was successful at the various stages and is awaiting call,” Sergeant Watson said.

Noting that, in December last year, two customer service representatives employed to money transfer agencies and a foreign national, who was held at the Sangster International Airport with cash and other lottery scam paraphernalia, were charged for breaches of the Lotto Scam Act, Watson warned that no one is immune from the cops.

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