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United States Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado

02/21/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/21/2020 16:17

JAMAICAN NATIONAL CONVICTED OF STEALING MORE THAN $700,000 FROM ESTES PARK SENIOR THROUGH LOTTERY SCAM

DENVER - United States Attorney Jason R. Dunn announced that a Jamaican national living in Brooklyn, New York was convicted late last week for his role in a lottery scheme that targeted an elderly woman from Estes Park. After a four-day jury trial in federal court in Denver, Leonard Luton, age 43, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and eight counts of aiding and abetting mail fraud.

According to court documents and facts presented at trial, Luton and another Jamaican national conspired to convince an elderly victim that she had won a $2.8 million dollar lottery and a Mercedes Benz. In order to receive her winnings, the victim was told she needed to pay thousands of dollars in 'fees.' Throughout 2018, one of Luton's co-conspirators directed the victim to mail multiple packages containing cash and cashier's checks to what the investigation revealed were the addresses of Luton's friends. The victim was also directed to purchase and mail six iPhones as part of the scheme.

The evidence admitted at trial established that Luton made two trips to the victim's home in Estes Park to pick up packages of cash. On the first trip, in October of 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. On the second trip in January of 2019, Luton was arrested at the victim's residence when he arrived to pick up more cash. Upon his arrest, Luton was in possession of one of the iPhones purchased by the victim. Financial records from the victim and Luton also established Luton's involvement in the scheme. In total the victim lost more than $700,000.

'The United States Attorney's Office is committed to fighting elder fraud,' said United States Attorney Jason Dunn. '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.'

Luton is scheduled to be sentenced on May 12, 2020, by the Honorable United States District Court Judge Christine M. Arguello.

This case was investigated jointly by the FBI and the Estes Park Police Department with assistance from the Larimer County District Attorney's Office.

Assistant United States Attorneys Martha Paluch and Sarah Weiss prosecuted this matter.

CASE NUMBER: 19-cr-00098