Detectives arrested two Jamaican nationals living in Collier County on Tuesday and charged them with swindling elderly and vulnerable victims across the United States as part of a lottery scam.
Dillion Coral Johnson, 24, and Neville A. Taylor, 26, both of 3190 La Costa Circle Unit #103, are each charged with three counts of depositing checks with intent to defraud.
The arrests are particularly rewarding for law enforcement because perpetrators of these types of scams are typically operating in other states or countries outside of the investigating agency’s jurisdiction.
“Our detectives did an outstanding job identifying and arresting these individuals who were preying on the elderly,” Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said.
Click on the link to watch the Sheriff discuss these arrests: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYFkrOsF_SY
According to Collier County Sheriff’s Office arrest reports, Johnson and Taylor were brought to the U.S. in November 2019 to work as contract servers at a country club in North Naples. Their travel was paid for by their employer and they were housed with other Jamaicans by the country club. Their employment contract was terminated April 1, but they had not worked due to lockdowns from COVID-19 and could not be returned to Jamaica due to the border closures.
Arrest reports gave this account of the events leading to their arrests:
On May 5, First Florida Integrity Bank alerted detectives in the CCSO Financial Crimes Bureau to suspicious deposits being made into accounts held by Johnson and Taylor. The deposited funds were also being moved to different bank accounts in their names at other institutions.
Upon further investigation, detectives found that the checks came from elderly individuals, many with some form of thought process or memory deficiency. Some were approached by unknown persons who initiated the fraud, while others received phone calls from Jamaican area codes. The scammer told the victim that they had won a large cash prize. In order for the victim to receive to the prize they would need to send a check to the scammer so that the scammer could verify the right banking information to deposit the prize money.
The investigation also revealed:
-Dillion received a $5,000 cashier’s check on May 4 from an 85-year-old woman in West Virginia.
-Dillion on April 30 received a $1,500 check and a $4,000 check from a 72-year-old woman with a long-term traumatic brain injury in San Francisco. She was befriended by a man at the local grocery store where she works who persuaded her to send over $20,000 in checks to various people, one of whom was Dillion.
-Neville received a $1,200 check on Jan. 31 from an 84-year-old woman in Illinois.
-Neville received a $1,700 check on March 23, a $1,500 check on March 30, and a $1,000 check on April 21 from a 95-year-old woman in North Carolina. The victim told detectives she had no recollection of the checks.
-Neville received a $500 check and a $4,000 check from an 84-year-old woman in Texas
During interviews with detectives, Neville and Johnson admitted to spending the money but denied being involved in any lottery scam.
Sheriff Rambosk would like to remind our community that the Collier County Sheriff’s Office has a fraud hotline.
The CCSO “Call Before You Pay” hotline – 239.252.CALL (2255) – is a resource for people when they receive suspicious e-mails, text-messages or other forms of communication demanding money or personal information.
The hotline is staffed by a CCSO deputy in the Financial Crimes Bureau between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.