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Bay County men plead guilty to sweepstakes scam

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. — An investigation into sweepstakes scamming is coming to a head after three Bay County men have pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges.
 
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Delroy Williams, 52, and Vivian Walters, 33, both from Lynn Haven, and Jevaughn Williams, 22, from Panama City Beach, have all pleaded guilty to scamming over forty victims into believing they had won large sweepstakes prizes. The victims, mostly elderly residents, were tricked into sending thousands of dollars to the scammers in order to release their fake winnings.
 
Corporal Charles Enfinger began the investigation a few years ago. He said he was “satisfied” by the plea report. 
 
“It was a big sigh of relief,” he said. “To actually find the source of this right here locally in Lynn Haven and actually be able to prosecute people on it feels really good.”
 
Enfinger said it all started with a phone call.
 

“I got a call from an investigator from another agency out of state,” he said. “He had an elderly woman who had fallen victim to this sweepstakes scam. She had sent somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,200 to $1,500 by wire transfer. The wire transfer was traced here to Lynn Haven.”

And the investigation led to more.

“Working in a search warrant to the house over there for these people, got in their house, and found a mountain of evidence,” said Enfinger. 

They say the evidence showed that the Bay County men were involved in a Jamaican sweepstakes scam, which took place from 2014 to 2017. 

All three men have pleaded guilty to several counts of fraud, and their sentencing hearings are currently set for late August.

Corporal Enfinger has a warning for residents. 

“If you think there’s a scam, before you send any money, just call us,” he said. “Call us and we’ll check it out.”

Enfinger also said that more arrests are expected to be made.

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