By Aaron Blevins, 7/19/2012
Investigators from the California Lottery are asking for the public’s help in locating two suspects who succeeded in running a “Latin Lotto” scam on an unsuspecting Los Angeles County woman, taking her for nearly $40,000 in cash and merchandise.
According to police, a female suspect approached the victim at a restaurant parking lot and said she had a winning Lottery ticket worth approximately $500,000, but she could not cash it because she was not a U.S. citizen.
The female suspect told the victim that if she helped her cash the winning ticket, she would give the victim $40,000 in cash in return. A male suspect then arrived at the location also pretending to help the female suspect cash the ticket. All three then entered a vehicle, and the female suspect called someone posing as an attorney. The attorney told the victim she needed to give the female suspect $48,000 worth of cash or valuables as collateral before they cashed in the winning lottery ticket.
The three visited two Wells Fargo banks where the victim withdrew a total of $38,000 and gave it to the female suspect. They also went to a local Macy’s where the victim purchased about $500 worth of clothing for the female suspect. The suspects dropped the victim off at a Michael’s store so she could purchase paper to write a letter to the alleged attorney. The suspects told her that while she bought the paper, they would go buy stamps for the letter. The victim purchased the paper and when she exited the store the suspects were nowhere to be found.
The California Lottery initially discovered details about the case when the elderly victim’s son wrote about the incident on the lottery’s Facebook page. After stealing the $38,000 from the victim, the scam artists went to the victim’s home to continue the scam. That’s when the victim’s home surveillance cameras caught video of the three con artists and the car they were using.
Lottery investigators are asking anyone with information to contact them at (800)568-8379. To place calls anonymously, call “LA Crime Stoppers” at (800)222-8477, text the letters TIPLA plus your tip to 274637 or visit lacrimestoppers.org.