Key player in Jamaican lottery scam sentenced to 4 years

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A federal judge in North Dakota has sentenced a Rhode Island woman to four years in prison for funneling lottery scam money between the U.S. and Jamaica.

Twenty-nine-year-old Melinda Bulgin, of Providence, received a sentence Wednesday that was 10 years less than prosecutors had sought.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland said Bulgin's role in the scam was not on the level of others who received lesser sentences than the 14 years requested by prosecutors.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan O'Konek called Bulgin's sentence "unreasonable" and "not a just punishment." The government has two weeks to appeal.

A jury in September convicted Bulgin of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering in a scam that authorities say bilked more than 100 mostly elderly Americans out of more than $6 million. The scam involved 31 defendants, including 14 Jamaican nationals, most of whom accepted plea deals with the government.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com