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News Release

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Media Relations

Scammers Targeting the Spanish-Speaking Community Including Lotto Scam

Los Angeles:  Los Angeles Police Department Northeast Area detectives are asking for the public’s help in identifying and locating a group of suspects who are working in pairs to target Spanish-speaking individuals, walking alone or at bus stops in the Highland Park area.

During the last few months in 2010, Spanish-speaking con artists were duping unsuspecting victims into giving up large sums of money with the promise of earning a large return for their involvement.  Once the suspects engaged the victim in a conversation, they were using various scams to enlist the victim’s financial help in return for a substantial profit.  

One scam includes the claim that the suspects are in possession of a winning lottery ticket but need the victim’s help to cash it.  Other ruses include: convincing victim that they have a sick relative and need money for their care; that they need help in cashing a check they are carrying; or telling the victim they have gold bars worth thousands of dollars and will provide them to the victim in exchange for cash.  Ultimately, in some cases, victims are scammed out of their entire life savings.  

Detectives are warning the public to beware of strangers approaching them and claiming they are in need of large amounts of cash or claiming to have a winning lottery ticket.  

The suspects are identified only as male Hispanics and one female Hispanic, age range from mid-twenties to mid-fifties.

Anyone with information on these suspects or who believes he or she may have been a victim of these scammers is asked to contact LAPD Northeast Area Detective S. Carrasco or Officer G. Juarez at 213-485-2566.  During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 877-LAPD-24-7.   Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).  Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.