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Jamaican man convicted of scamming Estes Park senior out of more than $700,000

The Brooklyn, N.Y., resident told the victim she had won a $2.8 million lottery and a Mercedes-Benz, and needed to pay "fees" to get her winnings.
Scam Calls. Photo: MGNonline

DENVER — A Jamaican national living in Brooklyn, N.Y., has been convicted of scamming more than $700,000 from an elderly Estes Park woman, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Leonard Luton, 43, was convicted last week in federal court in Denver of one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and eight counts of aiding and abetting mail fraud.

Prosecutors said that Luton and another Jamaican national conspired to convince the victim she had won a $2.8 million lottery and a Mercedes-Benz.

The victim was told she needed to pay thousands of dollars in "fees" to receive the winnings. Prosecutors said that throughout 2018, one of Luton's co-conspirators told the woman to mail multiple packages containing cash and cashier's checks to Luton's friends.

Prosecutors said she was also directed to buy and mail six iPhones.

Luton made two trips to the victim's home to pick up packages of cash, officials said. On the first trip in October 2018, one of Luton's co-conspirators went to the victim’s door at 1:30 a.m., identified himself as an FBI agent, showed her a fake FBI badge and directed her to hand over a package containing $65,000 in cash.

During the second trip in January 2019, prosecutors said, Luton was arrested at the victim's home when he arrived to pick up more money.

Prosecutors said financial documents from the victim and Luton established his involvement in the scheme.

“The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to fighting elder fraud,” said Jason Dunn, the U.S. attorney for the District of Colorado. “Lottery scams are just one way that scammers prey on vulnerable victims. Together with our law enforcement partners, we are working to protect the elderly and bring scammers to justice.”

“The outcome of this case is indicative of the success that can be attained when agencies combine resources to tackle cyber-related matters, such as the greed-driven lottery scam Mr. Luton fabricated,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Dean Phillips. “We are confident this case will send a message to those who devise complex fraud schemes that they will be aggressively investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The FBI would like to extend its appreciation to the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and Estes Park Police Department for their partnership, hard work and efforts in this investigation.”

Sentencing is scheduled for May 12.

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