May 27, 2014

Jamaican DJ Arrested in Florida in Connection with North Dakota Telemarketing Lottery Scam

BISMARCK, ND—A prominent Jamaican disc jockey has been arrested entering the United States in Hollywood, Florida, following his indictment by a federal grand jury in North Dakota for telemarketing fraud conspiracy. The indictment charges Deon-ville Antonio O’Hara, aka ZJ Wah Wa, of Kingston, Jamaica, with participating in an international fraudulent lottery/sweepstakes scheme. The United States Attorney’s Office today announced the unsealing of the amended indictment, which names 26 individuals who are alleged to have participated in the scam.

In Bismarck, U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon said, “Law enforcement has done an outstanding job unravelling the complex allegations in this case. We unsealed the indictment in order to be able to again warn North Dakotans that, if someone contacts you over the telephone telling you that you have won a lottery that you did not enter, hang up the telephone because it’s a scam.” Purdon continued, “It is a long way from Jamaica to North Dakota; however, as long as there are allegations that fraudsters are targeting our citizens, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service will continue to pursue the wrongdoers, wherever they may be.”

O’Hara was arrested on allegations that he and his co-conspirators ran a lottery scam in Jamaica that fraudulently induced elderly victims throughout the United States to send millions of dollars to them to cover “fees” for lottery winnings that victims had not in fact won. O’Hara is alleged to have acted as a money courier who would travel to the United States to pick up victim money and transport it to Jamaica. According to the indictment, upon his return to Jamaica from the United States in November 2013, O’Hara was stopped by Jamaican Custom officials at Sangster International Airport with $105,000 in U.S. currency in his possession; the cash is alleged to be proceeds of the lottery scam.

O’Hara has been charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy. If convicted, he faces a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years per count, a possible fine, mandatory restitution, and possible forfeiture of property.

As of this arrest, the Department of Justice has now charged the following individuals in connection with the scheme:

  • Lavrick Willocks, 25, of Jamaica Mario Hines, aka Buju Ramos, 20, of Jamaica
  • Gregory Gooden, 32, of Jamaica Gareth Billings, 25, of Jamaica Akil Gray, 23, of Jamaica
  • Dario Palmer, aka Innocent Palmer, 22, of Jamaica
  • Mikael Omarr Gillette, 24, of Miramar, Florida
  • Shannon O’Connor, 30, of Deerfield Beach, Florida
  • Christina Renee Hogarth, 25, of Pembroke Pines, Florida
  • Kimberly Carlo-Jean Hudson, 23, of Jamaica
  • Xanu Ann Morgan, 21, of Jamaica
  • Sherlet Anetta Love, 39, of Jamaica
  • Jason Joseph Jahalal, 24, of Jamaica Kazrae Gray, age unknown, of Jamaica
  • Dahlia Elaine Hunter, 49, of Jamaica
  • Sanjay Williams, 25, of Jamaica
  • Samantha Brown, 28, of Palm Desert, California
  • James Hayes Simpson, 72, of Owensboro, Kentucky
  • Tristan Fisher, 27, of Jamaica
  • Ricardo Augustus Bryan, 32, of North Lauderdale, Florida
  • O’Neil Brown, 30, of Jamaica AlrickMcLeod, aka Birdman, aka Z-Bird, 28, of Jamaica
  • Natalie Dougherty, 33, of Florence, South Carolina
  • Lindsay Mattig, 20, of Los Angeles, California
  • Charles Calvin Bauder, 54, of Jefferson, Texas
  • Deon-Ville Antonio O’Hara, 24, of Jamaica

Purdon singled out the Minneapolis Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which covers North Dakota; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) in Florida; and the North Dakota Attorney General’s Consumer Protection and Antitrust Division (CPAT) for special recognition of their tireless efforts in this ongoing investigation and also thanked a number of other participating law enforcement offices in North Dakota and throughout the world, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); United States Marshals Service (USMS); North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NDBCI); Harvey, North Dakota Police Department; Iberia Parish, Louisiana Sheriff; Placer County, California Sheriff; Charleston County, South Carolina Sheriff; Pembroke Pines, Florida Police Department; Jamaican Operations Linked to Telemarketing (JOLT) Task Force; Jamaican Constabulary Force (JCF); and JCF Lottery Scam Task Force (LSTF).

Purdon stressed that an indictment or complaint is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt.

An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.