MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A 26-year-old Fort Lauderdale man has been sentenced to almost six years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for his role in a fraudulent international lottery scheme.READ MORE: Celtics run past Heat 93-80, move 1 win from NBA Finals
Mikhail Gorbachev George Williams, in January 2015, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Williams participated in a fraudulent lottery scheme, originating in Jamaica, in which elderly victims throughout the United States were falsely told that they had won a lottery/sweepstakes contest, according to court documents and statements made in court.
Williams and his co-conspirators, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, sent letters and made multiple telephone calls to the victims wherein they claimed to be representatives of the sweepstakes/lottery company that was to award the prize monies.READ MORE: South Florida family knows firsthand effects of nationwide baby formula shortage
The victims were told that in order to claim their winnings, they had to pay taxes, duties or fees.
The co-conspirators directed the victims to pay Williams in order to receive their winnings. The victims were then told to send thousands of dollars to cover fees, taxes and insurance for the fraudulent winnings.
The victims paid Williams by wire transfers, money orders, U.S. currency, and checks. Payment was made through the U.S. mail and by prepaid debit cards.MORE NEWS: South Florida woman's bout with COVID included hair loss: 'This isn’t normal shedding'
Williams was sentenced by United States District Judge Beth Bloom in to 71-months imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release.