U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan announced that a federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment charging Javon Jonathan Spencer, 30, a Jamaican national, whose last known address was in Euclid, Ohio, for his role in a conspiracy that allegedly stole more than $250,000 from victims and targeted elderly Americans in northern Ohio and elsewhere.
According to the indictment, from March 2018 to April 2019, a co-conspirator contacted the victims and falsely claimed that the victim had won a prize in a lottery, contest or other competition. The co-conspirator would then inform the victim that an upfront fee or tax was required to collect the full amount. The indictment alleges that the victims were then instructed to send cash, checks or money orders payable to the defendant to his address at Euclid.
In one case, the indictment alleges that in June 2018, a co-conspirator called a victim and claimed that the victim won money in a raffle and, to collect the amount total, had to pay the defendant $4,500 in costs. The victim then sent the charges to the defendant as instructed, and the defendant deposited these funds into his bank account.
As a result of the scheme, it is alleged that the conspiracy members caused a combined total loss of more than $250,000 to the victims.
An indictment is only an accusation and not proof of guilt. A defendant has the right to a fair trial in which the onus is on the government to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after consideration of factors specific to that case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.
In any case, the penalty will not exceed the legal maximum and, in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.
This investigation was conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS). This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian M. McDonough.
If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been the victim of financial fraud, help is available at the National Fraud Hotline for Seniors: 1-833 -FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This US Department of Justice hotline, operated by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the victim’s needs and identifying appropriate next steps. Case managers will identify appropriate reporting agencies, provide information to callers to help them report, connect callers directly with appropriate agencies, and provide resources and referrals on a case-by-case basis. Reporting is the first step. Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud, and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering the losses. The hotline is open seven days a week from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time. English, Spanish and other languages are available.