ARCHIVE: Published Tuesday, September 10, 2019




The suspects, are brothers, had a red notification from the INTERPOL databases with an international arrest warrant.  / Judicial Investigation Organization courtesy photo.

INTERPOL detains two Jamaicans wanted by the U. S.

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Agents from INTERPOL arrested two Jamaican men, both surnamed Levy, 48 and 51 years old, who are wanted by the U.S. government for fraud.

According to the agents' report, the suspects, are brothers. They had a red notification from the INTERPOL databases with an international arrest warrant.

"Apparently, the suspects are linked to the scam of more than $350,000 to the detriment of U.S. citizens. They are alleged owners of a call center in Costa Rica, from which they prey on mostly elderly U.S. citizens, through the use of software. The software made the calls received by the victims appear to come from Washington DC and not from Costa Rica," said the agents in its report.

In these calls, they allegedly told the victims that they had won a grand prize of cash, but that in order for them to receive the prize they had to deposit a certain amount through money transfer companies. This was to cover the amount of insurance for the prize won. Elderly people made the deposits but never received the prize.

One of the brothers was arrested while driving in his car near to the community of  Ciudad Colón* in the province of San José. The other was arrested while traveling in a private transport vehicle through downtown Alajuela*.

In both arrests, agents also seized the guns carried by each of the suspects.

The two suspects were taken to the detention center of the Public Ministry where they were interrogated by the judicial agents. They must now wait until a judge orders their deportation to the U.S.

Related to call center fraud cases, as A.M. Costa Rica previously reported on August 22nd, t
he Department of Justice sentenced a U.S citizen surnamed Woods to 63 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his role in a $10 million telemarketing scheme that defrauded primarily elderly victims in the United States from call centers in Costa Rica.

According to the Attorney's announcement Woods, 35 years old, of Merrillville, Indiana, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn Jr. of the Western District of North Carolina.

"Woods pleaded guilty on May 15, 2017, to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering," said the Attorney's in its report.

According to the admissions made as part of his plea agreement, Woods worked in a call center in Costa Rica in which co-conspirators, who falsely posed as employees of U.S. government agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the IRS, contacted victims in the United States to tell them that that they had won a substantial “sweepstakes” prize. 

After convincing victims, many of whom were elderly and vulnerable, that they stood to receive a significant financial reward, Woods and his co-conspirators fraudulently told victims that they needed to make up-front payments for a “refundable insurance fee” before collecting their supposed prize.

The members of the conspiracy used a variety of means to conceal their true identities, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, which made it appear that they were calling from Washington, D.C., and other places in the United States.

Woods arranged for victims to transmit payments to Costa Rica or through people in the United States who collected money from victims and forwarded the payment to Woods and others in Costa Rica, he admitted.

At sentencing, it was determined that Woods and his co-conspirators stole more than $1.5 million from victims.

This case was investigated by USPIS, the IRS, and the FBI, with assistance from the FTC and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

The case is being prosecuted by trial attorneys William Bowne and Jennifer Farer of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina provided substantial assistance with this matter.

More information on this case can be reached at U.S. Attorney’s site here.*

Have you heard about large prize amounts being offered in exchange for monetary deposits?  We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to:

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