Woman warns of false Jamaican sweepstakes


by Adam Walser


Posted on August 12, 2011 at 6:40 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 12 at 9:20 PM

(WHAS11) -- A false sweepstakes is popping up in the area that has a few new twists.

Elderly people are called and told that the prize patrol will soon show up at their homes with big bucks, but there's a catch.

They are based in Jamaica, but try to convince potential victims they're right around the corner with a new car and a big check.

They didn't know WHAS11 was in the room while trying to con a woman out of $1,600.

“You'll be here around noon?” asked Betty Wesley, while talking to a stranger on the other end of the phone.

“That's no problem,” he replied.

When Wesley received the call on Thursday night, she thought it may change her life forever.

“He's saying that I have won from Publisher's Clearinghouse $850,000 and a new pearl white Mercedes Benz,” said Wesley.

And the calls kept coming.

“All morning they've called me,” said Wesley.

“I'm 100 percent. Everything is on the up and up. I'm for real,” said the caller.

The men also promised fame along with fortune.

“The TV guys will be coming. We'll have some paparazzi,” the caller said.

“I was stupid. I got excited,” said Wesley. But Wesley was told that to claim the prize, she would have to pay money up front.

“Do you have an envelope with you at home?” the caller asked. “Put the money in that envelope.”

The caller told Wesley to take the money to her nearest Post Office.

“Tell them you want to Express Mail it,” the caller said.

The caller told Wesley to send the package to David Jewett in Calabash, N.C.

WHAS11 News found and contacted Jewett, who told us he is 69-years-old and knew nothing about any sweepstakes.

Postal inspectors say this is a new method aimed at covering the thieves’ tracks.

They have the first victim send cash to another victim, in this case from Indiana to North Carolina, who then is convinced to wire money to Jamaica for a much bigger prize.

No legitimate sweepstakes will ever ask for cash in order to win a prize.

If you have been victimized by this operation, contact your local police department.