Popular Jamaican disc jock, Deon-ville O’Hara, more popularly known as ZJ Wah Wa will go on trial in his ongoing lottery scam case on September 15 following a hearing inside a North Dakota courtroom on Thursday.
Reports Saturday say the ZIP FM disc jock, who was transferred in late May to a North Dakota jail from Florida, pled not guilty to three charges, including money laundering, conspiracy in connection with telemarketing and wire and mail fraud. The 24-year old selector is one of 26 people held in connection with the alleged scam. He will be in the custody of U.S. Marshals until the beginning of the trial.
Allegations are that O’Hara assisted in running a lottery scam in Jamaica that conned American nationals into sending money in exchange for promised lottery winnings. It is further alleged that O’Hara would then fly to the U.S. to collect said money from victims.
Alleged victims in the scam include an 83-year-old North Dakota woman who sent cheques amounting to US$158,000 after being promised nearly US$19 million in lottery winnings as well as a South Dakota man who sent a cashier’s cheque totaling US$14,000 after being promised US$3.5 million in winnings and a 2012 Mercedes Benz, according to the Associated Press.
O’Hara was arrested in early May after visiting Florida. Four months earlier, he had been stopped by customs officials at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay after US$105,000 was found in his possession, money investigators believe was copped through the alleged scam.
After news of O’Hara’s charges broke, ZIP FM’s station manager released a statement saying that the radio station would, “allow the due process of the law to take place, where persons are given the benefit of the doubt and presumed innocent until proven guilty, our employees will be extended the same courtesy.”