Veterans benefits

Man gets six years in prison for role in Ja-US veterans benefits scam

An American was sentenced to more than six years in prison last week after being found guilty of participating in a scheme hatched by Jamaicans to steal more than US$1.8 million in retirement benefits fighter and social security, with most of the money sent to his co-conspirators in Jamaica.

Jamare Mason, a 27-year-old Georgia resident, was sentenced in federal court in Fort Lauderdale to a total of 78 months in federal prison, to be followed by five years of probation.

Mason, who last November pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank and electronic fraud, was also ordered to pay more than US$1.3 million in restitution.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, in a statement, said that over the five years from 2012 to 2017, Mason and others attempted to redirect more than 1.8 million US dollars in benefits for more than 100 disabled veterans and Social Security. beneficiaries.

Despite several attempts to block the fraudsters, the scheme resulted in the actual loss of nearly US$1 million, despite the federal government refunding the victims the full amount of their stolen benefits.

The group of scammers, including Mason and Jamaican suspects, obtained the victims’ personal information and used it to “fraudulently open bank accounts and prepaid debit cards in the victims’ name,” the U.S. attorney’s office said. .

In addition, the conspirators forged documents that ordered the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration to deposit benefit payments into those fraudulent accounts, officials said.

Funds were withdrawn from ATMs and banks in South Florida and Georgia, investigators said.

“A large portion of the funds eventually flowed to the project’s architects in Jamaica,” the statement said.

Besides Mason, four others have been convicted in connection with the conspiracy. However, their identities or nationalities were not revealed in the statement.

Meanwhile, two other men suspected of taking part in the fraudulent scheme have not yet been apprehended.