When a Jamaican called former FBI and CIA director William Webster saying he had won a lottery, Webster got the FBI to take part in a reverse sting that led to the man’s capture.
The caller with the Jamaican accent told the 90-year-old Washington, D.C., man he had won $72 million and a new Mercedes Benz in the Mega Millions lottery, but the man must send $50,000 in taxes and fees to get his money. “You’re a great man,” the Jamaican man cajoled. “You was a judge, you was an attorney, you was a basketball player, you were in the U.S. Navy, homeland security. I know everything about you. I even seen your photograph, and I seen your precious wife.” The Jamaican didn’t learn that the man he was calling was William Webster, the former director of the FBI and the CIA, the only person ever to hold both jobs, the Washington Post reports. He didn’t know that Webster would call him back the next day with the FBI listening in.
In the reverse sting, Webster obtained the man’s real name and email address, while stringing him along and never quite committing to sending the $50,000. “It’s going to take me a few weeks to come up with it,” said Webster, also a former federal district and appeals court judge. “I’m as anxious as you are to get the money, but it’s going to take me a while to do it,” he told the caller, later identified as Keniel Thomas. The conversation was one of many calls that Thomas made to Webster or his wife, Lynda, in 2014, including one in which he promised a bullet “straight to the head” of Lynda. Thomas wasn’t arrested until 2017, after he landed in New York on a flight from Jamaica. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a prison term of nearly six years. Jamaican-based telephone scams have mushroomed in recent years, targeting older or vulnerable people.