Jacksonville, Florida (USDOJ.Today) U.S. District Judge Brian J. Davis has sentenced Darryl Cleon Forbes (27, Jamaica) to five year and six months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The court also ordered Forbes to forfeit $2.4 million, and pay $1,122,957 in restitution.
Forbes had pleaded guilty on November 18, 2019.
According to court documents, from early 2015 until December 2017, Forbes and others operated a fraudulent sweepstakes scheme in Jamaica, the Middle District of Florida, and elsewhere. Forbes and his co-conspirators, posing as government officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Department of Treasury, falsely informed victims in the United States that they had won a prize in a sweepstakes and had to send money via wire transfers or other methods to pay various fees and taxes necessary to retrieve their prize. Forbes and his co-conspirators often targeted victims who were elderly and more susceptible to fraud. After Forbes and his co-conspirators had successfully induced a victim to send money, they telephoned the victim again, repeatedly, to “reload” him or her, making further false and fraudulent misrepresentations in an effort to induce the victim to send more money. The conspirators would often tell the victims that they had to send additional fees and taxes to ensure the safe delivery of the prize. This practice would continue as long as the victim continued to send money. No victim of the conspiracy ever received a promised prize. Forbes and his co-conspirators kept all of the funds for their own personal benefit.
Forbes and his co-conspirators also recruited residents in the United States to open bank accounts to deposit and transfer the fraudulently obtained funds. To facilitate the scheme, Forbes and his co-conspirators obtained personal identifying information of victims and then transferred, or directed others to transfer, victim funds to co-conspirators in Jamaica and elsewhere for the purpose of making ATM withdrawals.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jay Taylor and Ashley Washington.