Criminal receives 6 decades in prison for crimes of conspiracy and fraud

By Kate Northrop

Soon after stealing above $1 million from one particular one target, the chief of a ring of Jamaican rip-off artists was sentenced Friday to just about six years in jail.

Like any common scammer, Stieve Fernandez, 35, put in his time deceiving susceptible folks and robbing elderly targets of their everyday living financial savings as aspect of a significant-working underground community of lottery fraudsters.

Fernandez was stated to have bought lead sheets, which include the names and phone numbers of persons potentially susceptible to frauds. He would get hold of individuals on the lists to try out to influence them that they had won significant in a foreign lottery or sweepstakes. In order to acquire their prize, having said that, they were instructed to fork out upfront phony costs disguised as taxes, insurance policy, dealing with prices, and various other charges.

In executing so, he stole $1.2 million from 1 single victim.

The elderly individual, who resides in Mystic, Connecticut, and whose identification continues to be anonymous as a crime victim, was initial contacted by Fernandez in 2015. In between then and 2018, Fernandez gave the unsuspecting gentleman recommendations with an American accent and though below numerous pseudonyms, this sort of as “Damian Jackson,” “Jesse Jackson,” and “Huckleberry Finn.”

The sufferer adopted Fernandez’s recommendations by sending him and his accomplices around a million pounds via postal funds orders and investment account transfers. He experienced even long gone so far as to obtain and transfer gold and silver bars worth hundreds of 1000’s of bucks.

Fernandez applied the stolen resources to acquire a house in Jamaica and a scenic vineyard in Argentina. He kept two canines at the winery and named them right after his spouse and the Mystic target he deceived.

“They have been the people today whose dollars had compensated for them,” the prosecution claimed he bragged to a co-conspirator.

That was just a person circumstance of fraud. According to prosecutors, Fernandez carried out equivalent lottery scams versus four other aged individuals. He efficiently swindled $684,500 from them and experienced attempted to steal an extra $222,000.

He was also suspected of working with a girlfriend dwelling in Canada, a cousin believed to have resided in Florida, and two other associates. The cousin, Horace Crooks, was sentenced to a 12 months in prison in June, when his girlfriend, Minique Morris, awaits sentencing.

In October 2018, Fernandez and his associates were being indicted by a New Haven grand jury. He was arrested in Jamaica in May 2019, was extradited to the United States, and has been detained considering that.

The criminal tried out to argue in courtroom that he was just “a simple farmer” and “a devoted loved ones person” who “was brought up in the violence of gangland Jamaica.” He recalled that his more youthful brother was “stabbed additional than sixty situations, shot more than 30 periods and set on fire since he could not fork out extortion cash” and talked about remaining “captured and tortured by a area gang.”

He said that he was also self-taught in “personal computer mend, audio engineering, and Bonsai art.”

In February of this yr, Fernandez pleaded guilty to just one rely of conspiracy to dedicate mail and wire fraud. On Friday, he was sentenced by U.S. District Decide Kari A. Dooley to 71 months in prison and was ordered to pay back $1,196,207 in restitution.