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News Release

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Media Relations

Latin Lottery Scam Warning

Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Police Department has issued a warning to the public regarding a bunco scam that targets Spanish-speaking residents.

The scam has been called the "Latin Lotto Scam." The suspects approach individuals that are Spanish-speaking and offer them a deal to cash in a lottery ticket. The suspects, a man and woman working together, ask the victim if they know where a fictitious church is. When the victim states she does not know, she is asked if she knows a specific priest. The victims are then told that the priest was going to help them redeem the ticket because they are in the country without citizenship and are unable to cash it. The suspects convince the women to withdraw money from their bank accounts and homes to show “good faith” and show money themselves to convince the victims. The suspects drove the victims to various locations to retrieve their money. It’s a classic bait and switch.

Detectives have identified multiple victims in the Mid-city area who have fallen prey to this scam. It is estimated that the thieves have stolen approximately $15,000 in cash and jewelry.

Suspects are described as a male Hispanic, 5’8”- 6’0”, 180-200 pounds, 35-45 years of age, and a female Hispanic, 5’6”-5’8”, 130-160 pounds, 35-45 years of age.

Witnesses described the suspect’s vehicle as a late model, four-door Toyota Sport Utility Vehicle, gray in color.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Wilshire Detective Luis Corona at 213-922-8266. On weekends and during off-hours, call the 24-hour toll free number at 1-877-LAWFULL (529-3855).