Two brothers from Landover Hills, Maryland, Dwayne Henry, 32, and Wayne Henry, 34, have been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud after running a lottery scheme for three years. The scheme resulted in defrauding victims of more than $3.5 million. If convicted, the brothers could face 20 years in federal prison.
The scam took place between October 2020 and December 2023, during which the Henry brothers and their co-conspirators targeted victims by mail and phone. They convinced their victims that they had won millions of dollars in a lottery, but in order to receive their winnings, the victims had to make an advance payment through gift cards, wire transfers, or cash.
The brothers used a fake name, Anthony Henry, and a fake address to send packages and suitcases to victims, allegedly containing their winnings. In one instance, a victim named J.P. was led to believe they had won $5.5 million in the lottery. They were sent a metal suitcase that supposedly held the winnings, but were told they had to send the “required taxes and fees” to obtain the code to open the locked suitcase. The victim was also warned that attempting to open the suitcase before receiving the code would result in an exploding ink pack destroying the money inside.
Over the three years, the Henry brothers allegedly tracked the packages sent to and from the victims. Wayne reportedly received several packages containing victims’ funds, each addressed to Anthony Henry, and opened two bank accounts to receive peer-to-peer transfers and cash deposits.
In another instance of fraud, the brothers sent packages to a victim containing checks amounting to $150 million. The victim was asked to contact the brothers on a telephone number to receive the money, but ultimately never received anything.
The elaborate scheme allowed the brothers to pull in $3.5 million over the course of three years. The case is ongoing, and the indictment serves as a reminder to always be cautious when it comes to unsolicited lottery claims and requests for payment in advance of supposed winnings.