MOORHEAD - In April 2017, Moorhead police received a report of an elderly man who had sent more than $230,000 in response to calls saying he had won a lottery.
A detective learned the victim actually sent about $825,000 to different addresses over the course of about six months, thinking he would get part of a $5 million lottery prize in return, according to documents filed in Clay County District Court.
It became clear to the detective the situation was similar to Jamaican lottery scams. And working with an FBI agent familiar with such scams, it was determined one of the people the victim had communicated with was a woman known to the FBI as someone involved in defrauding other victims, court documents said.
On Thursday, Sept. 13, the Clay County Attorney's Office charged the woman, 21-year-old Kaycia Sudah Mahon, of the Bronx, N.Y., with a felony count of theft by swindle.
Mahon is accused in court documents of receiving $37,500 in cashier's checks from the victim as part of a lottery fraud.
Mahon is known to fly frequently between New York and Kingston, Jamaica, according to court records. She's been summoned to appear in court Oct. 9. Court records did not list an attorney for her.
This region is no stranger to Jamaican lottery scams.
In North Dakota, a number of people were charged in recent years in federal court on counts ranging from mail fraud to money laundering in connection with alleged Jamaican lottery scams.
Cases involve at least eight defendants extradited from Jamaica suspected of being part of a scam that bilked at least 90 mostly elderly U.S. residents out of more than $5.7 million.
In a 2015 federal trial in North Dakota, a man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for selling victim lead lists used for cyber-fraud.