Last defendant in large Jamaican lottery scam convicted

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A federal jury in North Dakota has convicted a Rhode Island woman in a Jamaican lottery scam that authorities say bilked at least 90 mostly elderly Americans out of more than $5.7 million.

Jurors Friday found 28-year-old Melinda Bulgin of Providence, Rhode Island, guilty of 15 total counts of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering. Her attorney says he’ll likely appeal.

The case is believed to be the first large-scale Jamaican lottery scam tried in U.S. courts. It began in September 2011, when an elderly North Dakota woman lost her life savings. Authorities eventually charged 27 people. All except Bulgin pleaded guilty or were convicted earlier.

Authorities say Bulgin funneled scam money between the U.S. and Jamaica, taking advantage of cheap flights through her job as an airline customer service representative.

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