The head of the Lavrick Willocks lottery scam network has reportedly agreed to plead guilty in a deal with federal prosecutors in North Dakota.
News emerged in the US on Monday that the agreement, signed by the defense and prosecutors on Friday. calls for Lavrick Willocks to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy.
Prosecutors will dismiss 65 other counts of wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering.
Court documents did not say whether Willocks has agreed to testify against his co-defendants, or whether plea deals might be in the works for them, as well.
Defense attorney Joe A. Johnson did not immediately respond on Monday to a request for comment on why Willocks is choosing not to take to the case to trial.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Clare Hochhalter was not immediately available to comment.
Court documents say: “the United States was willing to offer certain terms favorable to defendant in exchange for finality.”
U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland on Monday scheduled a change-of-plea hearing for July 27.
Willocks will face a maximum prison sentence of 40 years, though prosecutors in court documents say they will recommend a shorter term in return for his admission of guilt.
They did not say what was the exact recommendation.
The government also will recommend Willocks pay restitution.
Authorities say the scam bilked at least 90 mostly elderly Americans out of more than $5.7 million.
Fifteen people have been charged in connection with the scheme.
Ten suspects, including Willocks, have been extradited to North Dakota and pleaded not guilty, with trial scheduled to begin January 22, 2018.
Two of the remaining five suspects are in custody in Jamaica awaiting extradition, and three remain fugitives.