A Schenectady man charged with his wife in connection with a lottery scam admitted to the charges Monday, federal prosecutors said.
His wife is expected to plead guilty to mail fraud charges Wednesday, prosecutors said.
Jeragh Powell, 25, appeared in U.S. District Court and pleaded guilty to mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
He faces up to 20 years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino is to impose the final number at Powell’s November sentencing.
Prosecutors indicted Powell, 25, and his wife, Kimberly Powell, 37, in January on three counts of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
Prosecutors accused them of snaring their victims by mailing notices of lottery winnings then following up with phone calls to convince them to pay taxes and fees to claim their supposed prizes.
They allegedly worked with co-conspirators in Jamaica to perpetrate the scam from April 2014 to June 2015, bilking tens of thousands of dollars out of trusting victims.
The federal indictment in U.S. District Court in Albany related specifically to allegations of an attempted scam perpetrated against a Missouri man.
Authorities alleged the Powells first contacted the victim by mail in August 2014. The letter “congratulated the victim on winning a recent drawing and instructed him to contact certain individuals by phone or e-mail by a certain date or his lottery winnings would be returned as unclaimed,” an earlier prosecution filing read.
The letter also included photos of “purported past lottery winners holding oversized checks, briefcases full of cash, a BMW X6, a check for $2,500,000 made out in the name of the victim,” according to the previous prosecution filing.
The man first sent a $16,000 check to the Powells’ Schenectady address. Days later, he deposited another $10,000 in the Powells’ account.
The Powells are alleged to have then forwarded much of the gains to individuals in Jamaica, the filing reads.
The case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service and Homeland Security Investigations and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey C. Coffman.
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Categories: Schenectady County