CINCINNATI (Howard Ain) — There was a major break in an effort to crack down on one of the most popular yet vicious scams in the nation. Postal inspectors caught up with the accused Kingpin of the international operation. It was one of the most widespread and relentless scams in the country; lottery scams that prey on the elderly. But now an alleged ringleader has been arrested in Jamaica and has been extradited to the U.S. Video of a historic international effort to combat fraud showed a plane delivering Damion Barrett, a Jamaican citizen, to the U.S. to face charges for conning people into believing they had won a lottery and needed to send him money to collect the winnings. Bertha Mitrani, Asst. U.S. attorney, said, It was the first time somebody has been extradited from Jamaica for lottery fraud. Investigators have been working for years to track down the Jamaica-based ringleaders behind the lottery sweepstakes scams. They got a break in Florida when they arrested a middleman acting as a money mule for a gang in Jamaica. Blad Rojo, a U.S. postal inspector, said, The phone number that was calling all of the victims that were sending him money was also calling him. So now we knew that he was communicating with whoever it was that was calling the victims and being instructed to receive money. At that point inspectors were able to send information to a task force in Jamaica that eventually found Barrett. They found composition notebooks with information from victims in it. The U.S. requested Barrett to be extradited to face charges. Authorities estimated Barrett may have defrauded 10 people out of more than 00,000. Mitrani said, We absolutely intend to go after everybody in the United States and Jamaica and anywhere else where people are committing these crimes against our vulnerable elderly population. Postal inspectors said they were dealing with thousands of lottery fraud cases simultaneously. The crime often targets lonely elderly victims and the con artists are ruthless. Once they get them talking on the phone they develop that level of trust from the victim and the victims of course are vulnerable and then they will, once they have that hook in them, they will get them send money, said Rojo. Experts said family, friends and neighbors should be on the lookout for any signs that point to a senior citizen being lured into a lottery scam. The Federal Trade Commission received more than 34,000 complaints regarding lottery or sweepstakes frauds in 2013 and reported that 9 million was sent to Jamaica in connection with such scams. Damian Barrett was sentenced to 48 months in prison and ordered to pay 5,000 in restitution. Barrett is a citizen of Jamaica and will be deported at the conclusion of his imprisonment. Follow us on Twitter @Local12 and LIKE us on Facebook for updates!


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