Last defendant in Jamaican lottery scam case going to trial

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A Rhode Island woman accused of funneling lottery scam money between the U.S. and Jamaica through her airline job goes on trial in federal court in North Dakota this week.

Melinda Bulgin is the last of 27 defendants in the case that’s believed to be the first large-scale Jamaican lottery scam tried in U.S. courts. All others have been convicted or pleaded guilty. The case is being prosecuted in North Dakota because it began with a state resident losing her life savings in 2011.

Authorities say the scam bilked at least 90 mostly elderly Americans out of more than $5.7 million.

Sentencing is Oct. 15 for the man authorities say was the mastermind. Lavrick Willocks faces up to 40 years in prison, though prosecutors will recommend about 10 years because he cooperated.

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