HARRISBURG, PS - In a landmark case, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania has announced the conviction of three individuals involved in a Jamaican lottery scam that targeted elderly Americans, defrauding them of more than $1.1 million. Caron Pitter, 47, Rohan Lyttle, 49, and Charlene Marshall, 44, all lawful permanent residents originally from Jamaica, were found guilty on all charges following a two-week jury trial concluding on November 17, 2023.
The charges against the defendants included conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, as well as conspiracy to commit money laundering. Caron Pitter faced additional counts of mail fraud, while Rohan Lyttle faced multiple charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, and interstate transportation of goods taken by fraud. A fourth defendant, Rohan Lytle, Jr., age 26, remains a fugitive.
According to U.S. Attorney Gerard M. Karam, the defendants orchestrated the scam between 2017 and 2020, receiving funds from victims who believed they had won prizes from Publisher’s Clearing House. The scammers, based in Jamaica, targeted elderly Americans using "lead lists" containing personal information. Victims were falsely informed of multimillion-dollar prizes and instructed to prepay taxes and fees to claim their winnings.
The scam involved various payment methods, including cash sent through postal services, wire transfers, Zelle, MoneyGram, and Western Union. The criminals also gained access to victims' credit cards and Amazon accounts, making fraudulent purchases. Testimonies from victims revealed losses exceeding $1.1 million collectively.
Victims, including a 78-year-old from Mechanicsburg, PA, a 70-year-old from Philadelphia, PA, and a 90-year-old from Walterboro, South Carolina, testified that they were directed to send money to the defendants. The elderly individuals collectively sent over $200,000 in cash packages to the defendants. Some victims were also instructed to receive funds from third parties and send them to individuals posing as Publisher’s Clearing House representatives.
Evidence presented during the trial demonstrated that the defendants operated an auto body shop in Queens, New York, named Rocars Auto, and a related used car dealership in Kingston, Jamaica, known as Rolcam Company Limited. Proceeds from the scam were used to purchase and repair salvage vehicles for resale in Jamaica.
The defendants attempted to conceal their receipt of victim funds by distributing money among themselves, depositing funds into various bank accounts, and exchanging them for cashier’s checks. Additionally, they broke up larger sums of cash into smaller amounts to evade reporting requirements for large cash transactions.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ravi Romel Sharma and David C. Williams. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of 20 years for mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, and 10 years for interstate transportation of goods taken by fraud. Sentencing will be determined by the judge, considering federal sentencing statutes and guidelines.