Jamaican National arrested after swindling SC elderly out of more than $839K

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FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – A Jamaican National was sentenced to more then three years in federal prison after pleading guilty to a conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which swindled more than 150 mostly elderly victims out of almost $850,000.

Antonio Thelwell, 30, was one of 18 defendants involved in a large telemarketing fraud conspiracy beginning in 2010 which targeted elderly victims, according to a release from United States Attorney Peter M. McCoy, Jr.

Thelwell and his conspirators would contact elderly individuals and falsely inform them that they had won a sweepstakes, but had to pay the taxes and fees in order to claim their bogus winnings, the release said.

Through this scam, Thelwell and others were able to persuade victims to wire them significant amounts of money by various means.  In order to make the scam appear legitimate, the perpetrators sent letters which appeared to be from government agencies informing victims that their payments had been received. 

Not only did Thelwell contact victims directly, but he also recruited other individuals to contact victims, receive money from those victims, and wire the illegally obtained funds to him in Jamaica.  Thelwell was directly involved in scamming victims out of over $124,000, and the conspiracy as a whole swindled 157 victims out of over $839,000, according to the report.

Thelwell was extradited from his native country of Jamaica to serve time in the United States.

Thelwell was sentenced to 38 months in federal prison, to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision without parole.

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