Man pleads guilty to scam

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A Jamaican man pleaded guilty in Federal Court on Thursday to scamming an Oneida County resident out of more than $100,000 by claiming they won a lottery and needed to pay fees.

Sanjay Burton, 34, of Jamaica, pleaded guilty before Judge Norman A. Mordue to one count of conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud in U.S. District Court in Syracuse, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Burton faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he returns for sentencing on July 15.

Authorities said Burton was part of a group of scammers that would telephone senior citizens and falsely claim they had won a lottery or a sweepstakes. Authorities said Burton scammed one such Oneida County resident on Aug. 17, 2012, telling her she had won a $250,000 prize, but he needed her to pay associated taxes and fees in order for her to collect the grand prize.

Over the course of the next year, authorities said Burton convinced this woman to send him at least $107,930 in checks and wire transfers. Authorities said the money would first go to an intermediary in New York City, before a portion of the money would be sent to Burton in Jamaica.

Authorities said there was never any lottery winning and the victim never got any money.

Burton was indicted in federal Court in August 2014 and was eventually extradited to the United States in November 2018.

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