Victims Scammed Out Of $2.2M By NJ Couple In 'Publishers Clearing House Lottery' Scheme: Cops

A couple from Secaucus is facing a litany of charges after scamming residents in multiple states out of more nearly $2.2 million, police said.

Akeem Lee and Majda Hodzic-Lee.

Akeem Lee and Majda Hodzic-Lee.

Photo Credit: Secaucus Police

Akeem Lee and Majda Hodzic-Lee called victims in Florida, Minnesota, Arizona, Kansas, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Nebraska, saying they'd won the "Publishers Clearing House Lottery," Secaucus Police Chief Dennis Miller said.

In exchange for the vehicles and large sums of money the victims were told they won, they were required by Lee and Hodzic-Lee to send cash, money orders and/or gift cards for taxes, fees and IRS payments, Miller said.

The scam was brought to the police department's attention in February 2024, when the US Postal Service reported intercepting a package containing nearly $52,000 in money orders believed to have been sent by an elderly victim who was "scammed," Miller said.

The package was destined for an Edna Place home in Secaucus — ultimately Lee and Hodzic-Lee's home, authorities said. Several other similar packages had previously been delivered to the same home, police said.

The defendant's banking records showed more than $1.1 million, believed to have been sent from the Publishers Clearing House Lottery scam victims, passed through individual bank accounts belonging to both Lee and Hodzic-Lee, police said. 

Money was also transferred to separate accounts for businesses owned by the Lees, such as Oxi Nation, a trucking company, and European Sparkle, a cleaning company, police said. Banking records showed large amounts of money was sent to businesses believed to belong to co-conspirators, in Florida, Canada, Jamaica and Japan, Miller said.

Secaucus police executed a search warrant on the Edna Place home, along with the couple's 2019 Range Rover and 2013 Mercedes Benz was conducted Wednesday, March 27. A large amount of banking documents, computers and cell phones were seized.

Both Lee and Hodzic-Lee were charged with Money Laundering, Conspiracy to Commit Theft by Deception, and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering. They were both released on summonses, pending their appearances in Court.

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