By Kevin Deutsch
A scam artist in Lauderhill allegedly ripped off elderly victims across the U.S. to the tune of more than half a million dollars, authorities said.
Linton Roberts, 50, of Racquet Club drive in Lauderhill, told numerous victims they won the lottery and could collect their millions after they paid taxes on their winnings, according to court records filed by the Lauderhill Police Department.
Roberts, a native of Jamaica, allegedly carried out the lottery scheme from April 2018 until Feb. 14, 2022, leading police to charge him with crimes this week that include money laundering, exploitation of the elderly, grand theft, fraud, and larceny, according to an arrest affidavit.
Police said Roberts’ elderly victims, who lived in states that include New York and California, received phone calls telling them they had won the lottery. To collect their winnings, all they had to do was send cashier’s checks to a Lauderhill address, which investigators traced to Roberts, the affidavit states.
Lauderhill Police first learned of Roberts’ schemes in August 2021, when Massachusetts cops told them they had gotten a complaint from an 81-year-old lottery scam victim, a woman bilked out of nearly $200,000, records allege.
Someone had phoned the woman saying they worked for the Internal Revenue Service, promising her she would get $18 million in lottery winnings if she paid taxes on the money, the affidavit states.
The woman mailed eight checks to Roberts’ Lauderhill home, along with other victims who paid him for what they thought were taxes on lottery winnings, records show.
Some victims were also sent locked suitcases or boxes, which they were told held their lottery winnings, records state.
The winners would get the combination to open the boxes, a scammer told them, once they mailed the tax money.
In one case, a scammer said an explosive device was hidden inside the box and claimed it would blow up if the correct code was not entered, police said.
In total, police discovered at least 11 elderly victims bilked by Roberts, ranging from 75 to 83, records show.
Police are investigating whether other suspects were involved in the scams, which netted Roberts $519,485 in illicit profits, the affidavit states.
Between 2016 and 2021, Roberts, acting alone or with others, was responsible for various fraud schemes that cost individuals, businesses, and banks more than $1.4 million, records allege.
Police said they are still searching for more of Roberts’ victims and anyone else who may have helped him run his alleged scams.
Roberts is being held in the Joseph V. Conte Facility on a bond of more than $1 million, records show.
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.