COCOA BEACH, Fla. – A Kissimmee woman was arrested Wednesday, accused of stealing thousands of dollars from an elderly Brevard County woman in a scam known as a “Jamaican Sweepstake Scheme.”
Jewell Testa, 58, is accused of stealing more than $17,000 from an 86-year-old Cocoa Beach woman. The woman claimed she’d received several calls from someone named Amanda Field, who told her that she had won several million dollars through Publisher Clearing House, but she had to pay the taxes on the winnings before receiving them.
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Cocoa Beach Police say the victim sent nine transactions to a PNC bank account under Testa’s name. When they interviewed her, Testa told them she was receiving text messages and phone calls from several people in Jamaica who were promoting the scam and she was sending money to them through wire transfer and other money services.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Testa’s transfers had been flagged by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which told her that if she continued to be involved with the scam she could be arrested. The affidavit says text messages show Testa notified the promoters in Jamaica about the Postal Service warning, but continued to work with promoters anyway.
Testa was arrested on felony grand theft charges and taken to Brevard County jail.
Publishers Clearing House says it has been tracking similar scams, and that it will never ask for a fee to claim a prize.
If you see a similar scam, you can report it on the Publishers Clearing House website.