Twentieth defendant sentenced for lottery scam targeting the elderly

COLUMBIA, SC (WBTW) – A Myrtle Beach man became the twentieth person to be sentenced for his role in a lottery scam this week.

United States Attorney Beth Drake released that Marvin Songlin, age 32,  was sentenced Monday in federal court in Florence for his role in a bogus lottery scam that targeted elderly victims across the country.  He had previously pled guilty on charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and possession with intent to distribute and distribution of marijuana.

Judge R. Bryan Harwell of Florence sentenced Songlin to four years in federal prison, and ordered him to pay restitution to the victims.  Nineteen defendants involved in the scam have previously been convicted and sentenced by Judge Harwell.

Evidence presented at Songlin’s guilty plea hearing established that he served as a “money mule” for a group that convinced more than 150 victims that they had to pre-pay taxes or fees in order to receive lottery or sweepstakes winnings.  The victims, mostly elderly, sent more than $1 million in fees or taxes to Songlin and other money mules, who in turn transmitted the funds to co-conspirators in Jamaica.

The case was investigated by agents of the Bureau of Immigration and Custom Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Assistant United States Attorneys Eric J. Klumb of the Charleston office and A. Bradley Parham of the Florence office prosecuted the case.