BISMARCK - Eight Jamaicans charged in an advance fee "lottery scam" are now in custody in the United States after the Jamaican government ordered them extradited, U.S. Attorney Christopher C. Myers announced Thursday, April 27.
The eight were arrested in Jamaica more than a year ago and are among 14 people facing federal charges in a wire and mail fraud and money laundering investigation dubbed "Operation Hard Copy," said Myers, who works in the District of North Dakota.
The charges allege the scam bilked at least 90 mostly elderly U.S. residents out of more $5.7 million, Myers said.
The eight defendants extradited are Dahlia Elaine Hunter, Kimberly Carlo-Jean Hudson, Kazrae Gray, Dario Palmer also known as "Innocent Palmer," Jason Joseph Jahalal, O'Neil Brown, Alrick McLeod aka "Birdman" or "Z-Bird," and Xanu Ann Morgan.
"After years of hard work we are pleased and grateful the Jamaican government joins us in recognizing the terrible toll of the Jamaican lottery fraud," Myers said in a news release.
Another defendant, Lavrick Willocks, was arrested in Jamaica on Nov 5, 2016, waived extradition, and is in federal custody in North Dakota awaiting trial.
Defendant Tristan Fisher was arrested on Dec. 2, 2016, in Jamaica, and is in custody while the extradition process works its way through the Jamaican courts.
Another defendant, Melinda Claudina Bulgin, was arrested June 16, 2015, in Providence, R.I., and is awaiting trial.
Four people charged remain fugitives and are believed to be in Jamaica. They are: Mario Hines aka "Buju Ramos," Gregory Gooden, Akil Gray, and Gareth Billings.
Operation Hard Copy began in 2012 and is based in the District of North Dakota.
The ongoing investigation has resulted in federal indictments throughout the United States. One of Willocks' former co-defendants, Sanjay Ashani Williams, was convicted after trial in North Dakota in 2015, and sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for selling victim lead lists used for international cyber-fraud.
More than 10 other defendants have entered guilty pleas in related cases in North Dakota.