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Florida musician gets prison sentence for role in Jamaican lotto scam 

A South Florida musician who helped to scam money from elderly victims of a US$500,000 lottery hoax that originated in Jamaica, was on Tuesday sentenced to three years and five months in US federal prison.

Delroy Drummond, aka ‘Top Banga’, 26, of Hollywood and Miami Gardens, admitted to having worked with others who contacted seniors all over the US and duped them into believing that they had won a lottery prize.

The victims were told they had to pre-pay several thousands of dollars in taxes and fees before their winnings could be turned over to them. Some of the requested cash was sent via mail and electronic transfers to Drummond, and he shared that money with his co-conspirators, investigators from the US Postal Inspection Service said.

In court, Drummond asked for forgiveness for his crimes.

“I wish that everybody I have hurt can find it in their hearts to forgive me,” he told US District Judge William Dimitrouleas on Tuesday in federal court in Fort Lauderdale.

But prosecutor Randy Katz told the judge that Drummond was a “financial predator” who targeted “elderly and infirm” people who received calls that appeared to come from US phone numbers, but which are believed to have come from fraudulent telemarketers in Jamaica.

One 83-year-old victim, a retired schoolteacher from Huntington Beach, California, wrote a letter to the judge informing him she sent $127,000 in about 97 separate transactions, to sweepstakes frauds, including the one that involved Drummond. She said she obtained three loans from three banks and withdrew money from her investment, trust and checking accounts.

“Before all this happened, I prided myself on being a well-educated and competent woman involved with various organisations, including church, and living a fulfilling life … I still can’t forget the pain I caused myself and my loved ones. It hurts!” wrote the woman, whose name was not provided. She said the people who tricked her kept calling her, even at night, after she stopped sending money.

Drummond, who was born in Britain and lived in Jamaica and the US, apologised to the judge, the prosecution and all of his victims. He said he had disappointed his family, and regretted that he would be imprisoned for the first few years of his unborn child’s life.

Drummond pleaded guilty to fraud conspiracy and admitted he was a “runner” for the fraudsters.

The judge ordered him to pay more than $420,000 in restitution, and he has agreed to turn over more than $23,000 in cash that he had.

Drummond’s pregnant wife, Elizabeth Gonzalez, attended his sentencing, but did not speak. She pleaded guilty to her related role in the same telemarketing lottery fraud two weeks ago.

Gonzalez, 25, also pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy and is free on $100,000 bond. She is expected to face about one year to 18 months in federal prison when she is sentenced in July, authorities said.

Drummond, who has permanent US resident status and has been jailed since his January arrest, is expected to be deported after he serves his prison sentence.

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