Some thorough and collaborative police work by Waterford and other departments across the country led to the recent arrest of a woman on 10 separate charges – eight of which were larcenies – and exposed an alleged scam that targeted the elderly with origins in Jamaica.
Julie Drayton, 61, of 8 Wild Rose Place, was charged by on Thursday with seven counts of second-degree larceny, accessory to first-degree larceny, third-degree money laundering and racketeering for her alleged involvement in a scam that stole at least $33,500 from elderly people. According to an affidavit by Waterford Police Detective John Davis, Drayton and people from Jamaica would allegedly fool or intimidate elderly people into giving them money for promises of more money later.
Waterford Police worked with several other units to solve in the case, including the Hawaii Police Department and a department that covers Clearfield, Pennsylvania. At least three elderly people allegedly wrote checks to Drayton totaling $33,500, some of which was wired to Jamaica, after either being forced or fooled into giving away money, according to Davis.
(All information in this section is from Davis’s affidavit unless otherwise noted)
On March 22, 2010, a man with a Jamaican accent who identified himself as Jonathan Sterling allegedly called 90-year-old Edwin Glassman of Brooklyn, New York. Sterling told Glassman that he won $1.5 million in the Las Vegas lottery, and should pay him $5,000 to someone in need as a sign of goodwill to collect the money.
Glassman refused. Then Sterling allegedly became threatening, saying he knew where Glassman lived and would break his door down and also threatened Glassman’s wife, who was in an in-patient healthcare facility recovering from a fall.
Glassman, fearing for his and his wife’s safety, agreed, sending a check for Drayton to $5,000 to a P.O. Box in Waterford, which police later found Drayton rented at the time. Glassman then contacted authorities and showed them copies of the check and the U.S. Customer Service Express Mail customer receipt.
Waterford Police found Drayton had received the letter and were granted a search warrant on Drayton’s bank account, where they found she cashed the check and deposited $1,875 of it in her account. They later confirmed this through the bank’s video surveillance.
Drayton’s bank records also showed that Drayton had recently cashed a check from 71-year-old Charles Renwick of Clearfield, Penn. Waterford Police contacted Pennsylvania police who contacted Renwick and found him to be “to a degree, mentally incapacitated by age.” Police also found that Renwick wrote at least four checks to Drayton totaling $27,500 from Feb. 1, 2010 to March 18, 2010 and Renwick had also written at least 10 other checks to eight other states to people he didn’t know.
While investigating the case, Waterford Police received a call from the Hawaii Police Department. The department was looking into Drayton as well after Eufemia Cruz, another senior, of Hawaii had sent at least two checks to Drayton with the promise of a prize.
Waterford Police called in Drayton for an interview, where she admitted cashing checks from multiple people she didn’t know and then wiring the money to Jamaica. Drayton said she received many checks, some as large as $10,000.
But Drayton said she would get phone calls from unknown “Jamaican-sounding males” who told her to expect checks from other unknown people and then to wire the money to Jamaica. Drayton said she didn’t think she was doing anything wrong and said she didn’t profit from the system.
“When confronted about the absurdity of her self-proclaimed ignorance,” Davis wrote, "and the fact that her bank records proved she derived a profit from the scam, Drayton became loud and argumentative and the interview was concluded as her demeanor became unproductive.”
Drayton refused to cooperate with police after the interview. Police later alleged that she received at least seven checks, two from Eufemia Cruz, four from Charles Renwick and one from Edwin Glassman totaling $33,500, $11,630 of which she deposited in her bank account and $18,613 she wired to Jamaica.
Drayton is expected in New London court on June 29. She is being held on a $100,000 bond.
Many similar scams have been coming out of Jamaica lately, with the yearly take from similar scams from Jamaica estimated at $300 million, according to the Huffington Post. The Jamaican government has committed to work with the United States government to stop these crimes, according to the website.