Friday, October 31, 2008
San Fernando Valley hit by Latin Lotto ScamLos Angeles: Los Angeles Police Department has issued a warning to the public regarding the resurgence of what is being referred to as the “Latin Lotto Scam.”
In recent weeks the suspects have approached middle-aged Spanish speaking Latinos who offer them an irresistible opportunity to profit. The suspects are a middle-aged man and woman who work together to convince the victims that the couple are in the country illegally and therefore unable to redeem their “winning” lotto ticket. The suspects persuade the victims to withdraw money from their bank accounts or to retrieve jewelry from their homes. Secondary suspects, who are believed to be involved, approach the initial suspects and victims pretending to show interest by offering to redeem their ticket if the actual victim declines. This action of the secondary group of suspects often increases the confidence in the offer and seals the deal. The victims trade real valuables for a worthless ticket. The victims are convinced that the suspects are merely “holding” their money or property as a gesture of “good faith” while the ticket is redeemed. Once the victims surrender their valuables, the suspects and the valuables are never seen again.
The suspects are described as a Hispanic man and woman 45-50 years old. The man has black or gray hair, stands 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs about 150 pounds. His female partner has black hair stands about 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds. The suspects were last seen driving a newer model silver Mitsubishi mini-van.
Detectives have identified multiple victims in the San Fernando Valley who have fallen prey to this scam. In cases like these, some of the victims are too embarrassed to come forward.
Anyone with information regarding this scam is asked to contact West Valley Detective Moakley at 818-374-7744. After-hours or on weekends, calls may be directed to a 24-hour, toll-free number at 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (527-3247). Callers may also text “CRIMES” with a cell phone or log on to www.lapdonline.org and click on Web Tips. When using a cell phone, messages should always begin with “LAPD.” All calls and contacts are anonymous.