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St. Thomas Man Calling From Jail Posing As Federal Judges And The Attorney General Gets $100,000

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A St. Thomas man calling from jail successfully impersonated federal judges, the Virgin Islands Attorney General and claimed to be the son of a lieutenant governor — all in order to con victims out of at least $100,000.

Yamini Potter, 34, has been charged with eighty counts of wire fraud, two counts of impersonating a federal judge, obstruction of justice in violation of federal law, two counts of acting in assumed character, and one count of grand larceny in violation of Virgin Islands law, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

Yamini James Potter on social media

According to the affidavit filed in this case, between May 2019 and July 2020, Potter received over $100,000 from the victims, at least one of whom is elderly, for purported legal fees associated with a lawsuit filed against the United States.

Potter claimed he could assist the victims with a lawsuit to obtain a money judgment and return of one of the victim’s medical licenses.

Investigators located no such lawsuit anywhere in the United States. Potter is not a licensed attorney in any jurisdiction in the United States.

Initially, Potter claimed to be the son of former Lieutenant Governor Osbert Potter.

According to court documents, Yamini Potter is not Osbert Potter’s son.

The affidavit alleges that Potter used this supposed familial connection to influence his victims to pay money for the alleged lawsuit and claimed that the victims could expect to recover millions of dollars.

The affidavit further alleges that, Potter also impersonated Osbert Potter, former U.S. District Court Judge Curtis Gomez, U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller and Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George for fraudulent purposes.

According to the affidavit, Potter telephoned his victims pretending to be various people, including himself, while he was detained in the Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections, pending charges in the Virgin Islands Superior Court.

All of his telephone calls from the St. Thomas jail were recorded by authorities.

Potter also allegedly sent text messages to the victims as part of his fraudulent scheme, and in at least one case, tried to persuade the victims to destroy text messages he sent to them.

According to court documents, Potter pled guilty in 2015 to impersonating an FBI agent in violation of federal law. He was sentenced to one year in prison.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD), and the Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections (BOC).

It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alessandra P. Serano.

Shappert said she encourages anyone, and especially elderly victims, who may be a victim of fraud — or of any other crime — to come forward and make a report to the FBI at (340) 777-3363.

Shappert also said that a criminal complaint is merely a formal charging document and is not in and of itself evidence of guilt.

“Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty,” she said.

For more information on the Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative, please see: https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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