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Maryland brothers indicted for an alleged lottery scheme that defrauded victims of more than $3.5 million

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BALTIMORE, MD—Two Maryland brothers have been indicted for an alleged lottery sweepstakes scheme that defrauded victims of more than $3.5 million.

A federal grand jury has returned a superseding indictment charging brothers Dwayne and Wayne Henry, age 32 and 34, respectively, both of Landover Hills, 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.

The indictment states that, 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.

The brothers 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.

The brothers 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 a victim to believe that they had won $5.5 million in the lottery. The victim received a metal briefcase purportedly containing partial payment of the lottery winnings and was told that they would receive a code to unlock the briefcase after they sent the required taxes and fees. The victim was also allegedly told that if they opened the briefcase without receiving the code, the money would be destroyed by an exploding ink pack inside the briefcase.

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. An initial appearance has not yet been scheduled.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

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