By Kimone Witter
Two Jamaican men have been sentenced to federal prison for their role in a sweepstakes scam that targeted elderly people across the United States.
The US Attorney's Office for the District of South Carolina on Tuesday said 32-year-old Tyrell Harris and 60-year-old Errol Durrant were each sentenced to more than five years in prison.
Both prison sentences are to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision. The defendants are also required to pay $1.75 million in restitution.
Harris, Durrant, and other co-conspirators would contact elderly victims and falsely tell them they had won sweepstakes, but in order to claim the prizes, they needed to pay bogus fees or taxes.
Evidence presented in court showed that the victims purchased prepaid cards, postal service money orders, bank money orders, and mailed cash and personal checks to the defendants.
The defendants would then wire the fraudulent funds to co-conspirators in Jamaica to be dispersed amongst various bank accounts.
Prosecutors say Harris and Durrant reportedly received more than $1.7 million from at least seventy victims across fifteen US states as a result of the scheme.