Dancehall producer Papi Don was arrested and charged in Florida after police alleged that he scammed over $300,000 from at least 18 elderly residents all over the US.
Papi Don, a Montego Bay native, started producing Dancehall music in 2017. His Papi Don Muziq label is best known for working with artists such as TeeJay (Up Top), Chronic Law (Pain), Gage (Motivation), Shaneil Muir (Yamabella), and Takeova (Alien Mode).
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said, in a release, that Papi Don, whose real name is Donte Johnson, 25, of Plantation, Florida, allegedly swindled a 88-year-old Sarasota man out of $63,000 through a Publisher’s Clearing House lotto scam.
The Sheriff’s Office revealed that the investigation began in October 2020, when the 88-year-old victim’s family members filed a police report. The cops said that the victim believed he was paying “taxes” for Publisher’s Clearing House winnings in advance and deposited the $63,000 into two separate bank accounts.
They added that Johnson was caught on surveillance video, as he was withdrawing the victim’s money.
On Wednesday, March 3, police executed a search warrant on Papi Don’s home in Plantation, and confiscated more than $17,000 in cash, four firearms, ammo, and one additional firearm that was reported stolen in Georgia.
The police also confiscated paperwork and several electronic devices, which was used to identify 17 additional elderly victims. They believe there may be others who fell victim to Papi Don’s alleged scamming activities.
In total, they estimate approximately $300,000 was stolen from the 17 victims who live in areas all over the United States.
After the search, Papi Don was arrested and charged with Criminal Use of Personal Identification, Bank Fraud, and Grand Theft of a Firearm.
He was released on bond and the investigation is ongoing, and pending additional charges.
According to the Publishers Clearing House website, no payment, fee, tax, or any amount is ever required to claim or receive a prize in a PCH giveaway.
“It is with credit to our Special Victim’s Unit that this criminal is behind bars,” said Sarasota Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman. “These detectives work hard to protect our most vulnerable populations, but it is on all of us to look out for our elderly and one another. The message here is to take caution for both yourself and the ones you love. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
Illicit lottery scamming in Jamaica first came to the fore in 2006, with Montego Bay now identified as a hotspot. The Gleaner reported last year that “major players involved in Jamaica’s lottery scam are on the radar of top United States’ law-enforcement agencies and are being targeted for extradition this year”.
Another Dancehall producer Milla 9, known for working with Vybz Kartel and Popcaan, was arrested and charged for murder last year in Florida, stemming from a 2019 home-invasion robbery and shooting.