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FairPoint Praises Effort That Led To Jamaican Scammer's Arrest

PORTLAND, Maine, June 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- FairPoint Communications, Inc. (NasdaqCM: FRP), a leading telecommunications provider in northern New England, today praised Senator Susan Collins for her support in exposing Jamaican lottery scammers who are robbing Americans of millions every year. 

On Tuesday, a Jamaican national pleaded guilty for his role is a telemarketing lottery scheme that defrauded hundreds of senior citizens.  This guilty plea resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Social Security Administration's Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG), and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).

The scammer now faces up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 and is believed to be the first Jamaican national charged in the United States for this type of fraud.

"Senator Collins has led the way in bringing light to this problem and initiating Congressional hearings on the issue," said Mike Reed, Maine state president for FairPoint. "Her actions have paved the way for this scammer being charged for bilking millions from unsuspecting senior citizens."  Reed also praised the federal authorities for their investigation leading to the arrest.

Last March, FairPoint began a public awareness campaign, Beware: Scams from Area Code 876, working with local law enforcement officials, AARP, state attorney generals and federal lawmakers to unmask the growing problem of the Jamaican lottery scam that is stealing millions every year from Americans.

Each day 30,000 calls are made from the Jamaican 876 area code attempting to defraud US citizens.  An Associated Press report noted conservative estimates that put the yearly take from Jamaican scams at $300 million.  Researchers say lottery and sweepstakes fraud is vastly underreported, estimating up to 92 percent of victims stay silent, so exact figures are impossible to tally.  These figures are staggering, yet there has been little awareness warning our vulnerable senior citizens.

Ultimately, the public awareness campaign gained national and international attention, prompting additional media coverage that initiated a Congressional hearing and moved the Jamaican government to take action.

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