WASHINGTON - A Jamaican lottery scammer chose the wrong person to try to extort: the only man to lead both the FBI and CIA.
William Webster, who is now 94 years old, and his wife, Lynda, were targeted four years ago by a man who peddled a lottery scam by phone calls and emails. Over multiple phone calls, Keniel Aeon Thomas of Jamaica told the Websters he’d set their house ablaze or have a sniper shoot them in the back of the head if they didn’t pay him thousands of dollars, according to prosecutors’ filings.
On Friday, a federal judge sentenced Thomas, 29, to almost six years in prison and then will be deported to Jamaica. He has been in jail in New York and Washington DC since his arrest in late 2017 as he got off a plane in New York to visit a friend.
At his sentencing on Friday, Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the district court in Washington noted that Thomas had more than 30 victims and had collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from them.
Prosecutors noted in court filings that lottery scams like these have increased over the last decade. They often turn into violent threats when a target won’t pay. Some victims are warned not to speak to others about their supposed winnings and are scared by the threats and details the perpetrators learn about their targets from Google Earth and other data, prosecutors said.