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Date: 05-30-2023

Case Style:

United States of America v. Tyrell Harris and Errol Durrant

Case Number: 2:21-cr-00712

Judge: Bruce H. Hendricks

Court: United States District Court for the District of South Carolina (Charleston County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in Charleston

Defendant's Attorney:

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Description: Charleston, South Carolina criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with engaing in a fraudulent lottery scam that targeted elderly victims around the country.

As part of the scheme, the Tyrell Harris, 32, and Errol Durrant, 60, or their co-conspirators contacted elderly victims and falsely inform the victims that they had won a sweepstakes. The supposed prizes in these sweepstakes usually consisted of millions of dollars, a new vehicle, or other valuable items. The defendants and their co-conspirators would tell the victims that they needed to pay bogus fees and/or taxes in order to collect their purported winnings.

The defendants and their co-conspirators would direct the elderly victims where to send the bogus fees and/or taxes. Evidence showed victims purchased prepaid cards, USPS money orders, and bank money orders, and mailed cash/personal checks to the defendants. The defendants in turn wired the fraudulent funds to co-conspirators in Jamaica and amongst various bank accounts opened and controlled by them.

The defendants received more than $1.7 million from the victims they targeted, and at least 70 victims were targeted across 15 states.

United States District Judge Bruce H. Hendricks sentenced Tyrell Harris to 90 months in federal prison and Errol Durrant to 80 months in federal prison. Both defendants’ sentences are to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision, in the event they are not deported upon release. There is no parole in the federal system. The defendants were also ordered to pay $1,700,512.90 in restitution.

“The District of South Carolina is committed to prosecuting scams that target vulnerable citizens,” said United States Attorney Adair F. Boroughs. “ We appreciate the hard work of our federal agency partners and the continued efforts to investigate these crimes.”

“These individuals preyed on some of the most vulnerable members in our community,” said Tommy D. Coke, Inspector in Charge of the Atlanta Division. “The U.S. Postal Inspection Service and our law enforcement partners will continue our commitment to protect our citizens and bring those responsible for these illegal schemes to justice.”

“This sentence is the result of great work by HSI and our partners at the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to bring these criminals to justice,” said Ronnie Martinez, Special Agent in Charge for HSI Charlotte, which covers North and South Carolina. “These types of crimes can have devastating effects on the elderly and HSI will aggressively pursue criminal prosecution to dismantle Transnational Criminal Organizations, both domestically and internationally, to bring justice to the victims.”

This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service and Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Amy Bower prosecuted the case.

Outcome: Defendants were sentenced to more than five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to their roles in a fraudulent lottery scam that targeted elderly victims around the country.

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