Two Maryland brothers indicted for lottery scheme
Jan 25, 2024
From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland
Baltimore – A federal grand jury has returned a superseding indictment charging brothers Dwayne and Wayne Henry, age 32 and 34, respectively, both of Landover Hills, Maryland, for conspiracy to commit mail fraud, in connection with a lottery scheme where victims believe that they have won a lottery or sweepstakes and are required to send payment in advance for taxes and other fees before they are entitled to receive their winnings.
The superseding indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Postal Inspector in Charge Damon E. Wood of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service – Washington Division; Special Agent in Charge James C. Harris of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; Chief Malik Aziz of the Prince George’s County Police Department; and Special Agent in Charge Colleen Lawlor of the Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General, Philadelphia Field Division.
According to the superseding indictment, from October 2020 until December 2023, the defendants and their co-conspirators contacted the victims by mail and over the phone and convinced them that they had won millions of dollars in a lottery or sweepstakes but were required to send payment in advance for taxes and other fees before they could receive their winnings. The defendants and other conspirators caused the victims to send payments for the purported taxes and other fees through wire transfer, by gift card, by sending cash and by other payment methods.
As detailed in the superseding indictment, the defendants sent lottery solicitations, as well as packages and suitcases that purportedly contained the victims’ winnings to victims throughout the United States, using a false address and fictitious name when mailing the items. The defendants allegedly tracked the packages sent to and from the victims and Wayne received numerous packages that contained victim funds addressed to “Anthony Henry.” The superseding indictment further alleges that Wayne opened two bank accounts to receive money from the scheme, including in cash deposits and peer-to-peer transfers and that Dwayne and Wayne Henry sent numerous payments to each other using a digital payment network. The majority of the ATM cash withdrawals from one of the bank accounts also allegedly occurred outside the United States.
For example, the superseding indictment alleges that the conspirators sent packages and caused packages to be sent that contained checks made payable to victim J.S. in the amount of $150 million, cell phones, and typewritten notes, including a note requesting that J.S. contact the writer at a telephone number ending in 9391 “to get in touch . . . about paying you the 150 million dollars.”
The superseding indictment further alleges that in early 2023, Wayne, Dwayne, and other conspirators caused victim J.P. to believe that J.P. had won $5.5 million in the lottery. As detailed in the superseding indictment, J.P. received a metal briefcase purportedly containing partial payment of the lottery winnings and was told that he/she would receive a code to unlock the briefcase after J.P. sent the required taxes and fees. J.P. was also allegedly told that if J.P. opened the briefcase without receiving the code, the money would be destroyed by an exploding ink pack inside the briefcase.
According to the indictment, as a result of the scheme, the victims sent more than $3.5 million to the defendants and other conspirators based on false pretenses, representations, and promises involving false lottery or sweepstakes winnings.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for the mail fraud conspiracy. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. An initial appearance has not yet been scheduled.
A superseding indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by superseding indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
Reporting from consumers about fraud and fraud attempts is critical to law enforcements efforts to investigate and prosecute schemes targeting older adults. If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is available the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This Department of Justice Hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim and identifying next steps, including identifying appropriate reporting agencies, providing information to callers to assist them in reporting or connecting them with agencies, and providing resources and referrals on a case-by-case basis. The hotline is staffed from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. English, Spanish, and other languages are available. More information about the Department’s elder justice efforts can be found on the Department’s Elder Justice website, www.elderjustice.gov. Victims are encouraged to file a complaint online with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at this website or by calling 1-800-225-5324.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, HSI, the Prince Georges County Police Department, and the Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General for their work in the investigation and thanked the Maryland State Police, the Baltimore County Police Department, and the Anne Arundel County Police Department for their assistance. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Evelyn Lombardo Cusson and Christine Goo, who are prosecuting the federal case.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help seniors, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/elder-justice-initiative.
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