Jamaican pleads guilty to mail fraud charge in Ohio

A Jamaican pleaded guilty on Monday in a US federal court in Ohio to bilking an elderly couple out of  their savings.  

Ricardo Smith, 39, who has lived in Cedar Rapids, Ohio since coming to the United States in 2015, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud. He faces up to 20 years in prison and US$250,000 in fines.

Smith admitted to participating in a scheme with two others to defraud a couple in Bushnell, Illinois.

The Jamaican said his girlfriend, 36 year old Tea Ware, told a 74-year-old woman that she had won a lottery and was going to receive large sums of money, but could only collect her winnings if  she first mailed her the taxes or fees for payment.  

The indictment shows the scheme started in September and continued through November 2015.

Ware pleaded guilty in June to two counts of  mail fraud and one count of  using a fictitious name in mail fraud.  

Smith admitted recruiting Ware for the scam.

According to court records, the female victim has short-term memory problems and her husband is a US Navy veteran suffering from dementia and lives in a long-term care facility.  




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