Key player in Jamaican lottery scam could face long sentence

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Federal prosecutors in North Dakota are seeking a lengthy sentence for a Rhode Island woman who funneled lottery scam money between the U.S. and Jamaica through her airline job.

A jury last September convicted 28-year-old Melinda Bulgin of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering in the scam that authorities say bilked more than 100 mostly elderly Americans out of more than $6 million.

She’s to be sentenced April 17. Federal prosecutor Jonathan O’Konek is asking for 14 years, citing Bulgin’s lack of cooperation and lack of empathy for victims.

That’s more than double what the government sought for the scam’s mastermind, who accepted a plea deal and got six years.

Bulgin’s attorney says she shouldn’t be punished for taking her case to trial. Chad McCabe says he’ll seek a sentence that’s “more reasonable and appropriate.”

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