Secaucus couple charged with scamming the elderly out of $2.2M, authorities say


A Secaucus couple has been charged with scamming the elderly out of approximately $2.2 million by pretending they had won the Publishers Clearing House Lottery and had to pay taxes, fees, and/or IRS payments, authorities said.

Hakeem Lee & Majda Hodzic-Lee. Photos courtesy of the Secaucus Police Department.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Akeem Lee, 30, and Majda Hodzic-Lee, 42, both of Secaucus, were each charged with money laundering, conspiracy to commit theft by deception, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, Police Chief Dennis Miller said in a statement.

Pursuant to Criminal Justice Reform, they were both released on summonses, pending their first court appearances.

In early February 2024, the United States Postal Service reported to the Secaucus Police that they intercepted a package that contained approximately $52,000 in money orders that was believed to be sent by an elderly victim who was “scammed.”

The package was destined for an Edna Place residence in Secaucus. Numerous packages similar this one were previously delivered to the Edna Place residence in the recent past.

The Secaucus Police Detective Division launched an investigation, which was spearheaded by Det. Sean Egan.

The investigation revealed that during the course of 2023 numerous victims from across the country, including Florida, Minnesota, Arizona, Kansas, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Nebraska were scammed out of over $2.2 million dollars, collectively.

The scammers would contact victims by phone and claim the victim won the Publishers Clearing House Lottery and would receive a variety of winnings, including vehicles and large sums of money.

However, the victims were required to send cash, money orders and/or gift cards for taxes, fees and IRS payments.

It is still unknown if Lee or Hodzic-Lee, ever made phone calls to the victims themselves, but after scouring their banking records ,it was discovered that $1,101,707.71, believed to be sent from the Publishers Clearing House Lottery scam victims, passed through individual bank accounts belonging to both suspects.

Additionally, money was transferred to separate accounts for businesses that Akeem Lee and Majda Hodzic-Lee own, such as Oxi Nation, a trucking company, and European Sparkle, a cleaning company.

Furthermore,, banking records showed large amounts of money was sent to businesses suspected to belong to co-conspirators in Florida, Canada, Jamaica and Japan.

Yesterday, detectives from the Secaucus Police Department arrested Lee and Hodzic-Lee.

A court authorized search of their Edna Place residence, their 2019 Range Rover and 2013 Mercedes Benz was conducted. During the searches, a large amount of banking documents, computers, and cell phones were seized.

“This case is a respresentative example of the determination put forth by members of the Secaucus Police Department in the pursuit of justice for the innocent victims who were scammed,” Chief Dennis Miller said.

“These elaborate scams provide sources of income for criminals and it is extremely gratifying to make them answer for their crimes. I want to thank the U.S. Postal Police for their participation in this investigation.”

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