9 from Grand Strand charged in $1 million lottery scam targeting - WBTW-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Florence, SC

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9 from Grand Strand charged in $1 million lottery scam targeting the elderly, feds say

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Wayne Duffus, age 28,  Rajah Robinson and LeGrant Allen, all of Little River. (Photos from J. Reuben Long Detention Center) Wayne Duffus, age 28, Rajah Robinson and LeGrant Allen, all of Little River. (Photos from J. Reuben Long Detention Center)

United States Attorney Bill Nettles announced that 10 individuals, most of them residents of Little River,  have been charged in a complaint alleging a conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. 

The complaint, unsealed Tuesday after the arrests of nine of the defendants, alleges that the scam targeted elderly victims around the country, notifying them that they had won a lottery or sweepstakes, but that they needed to pay fees in advance in order to receive their winnings. 

The complaint alleges that more than 200 individuals were victimized and paid more than $1 million to receive their non-existent lottery prizes. Nine of those charged are from towns in the Grand Strand.

  The conspiracy charge carries a maximum prison term of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000.  The defendants and their last known city of residence are:

Wayne Duffus, age 28, currently incarcerated, formerly of Little River, SC

Rajah Robinson, age 28, Little River, SC

Shadiki Brown, Little River, SC

Lorenzo Samuels, age 27, Riverdale, GA

Davion Bellamy, age 25, Conway, SC

LeGrant Allen, age 29, Little River, SC

Damion McLeish, age 33, North Myrtle Beach, SC

Ann Marie Yapp, age 43, North Myrtle Beach, SC

Denisha Robinson, age 26, Little River, SC

Quashinda Godbolt, age 36, Conway, SC

Defendant Lorenzo Samuels was arrested Tuesday morning in Georgia and is scheduled to appear before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Atlanta at 2:00 p.m.   The other eight arrestees will make their initial appearances in Florence at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday

        The case was investigated by Special Agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Inspectors with the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).

"These individuals stand accused of preying on some of the most vulnerable members in our communities in their callous quest for money," said Brock D. Nicholson, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Atlanta. "We will continue to work with our partners at the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Attorney's Office and other law enforcement agencies to put these criminal enterprises out of business." 

Added Keith A. Fixel, Inspector in Charge of the Charlotte Division, "The United States Postal Inspection Service is dedicated to combating Jamaican foreign lottery scams across the U.S. and here in South Carolina.  Those who attempt to utilize the U.S. Mails to prey on Americans, especially the elderly, are pursued to the fullest extent of the law by U.S. Postal Inspectors.  Working alongside our law enforcement partners, this case is an example of agencies joining forces to protect the public and demonstrates the far reaching arm of law enforcement to identify those responsible and hold them accountable."

        Assistant United States Attorneys A. Bradley Parham and Eric Klumb are prosecuting the case.

        The United States Attorney reminded the public that the charges alleged in the complaint are merely accusations and that all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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