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News Release

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Media Relations

Lottery Scammers Targeting the Spanish-Speaking Community

Los Angeles:  Los Angeles Police Department Foothill 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 in the San Fernando Valley area communities including Pacoima, Arleta, Lake View Terrace, Sun Valley and Sunland.

During the last few months in 2010, Spanish-speaking con artists were duping unsuspecting victims into a lottery scam with no winning ticket.  The suspects approached a lone person and told the victim that they were in possession of a winning California State Lottery ticket.  They then told the victims that the winners were in the country illegally and couldn’t claim their winning tickets or the lottery required them to give cash or something of value before they could collect their winnings.  The victim is then offered a share of the winnings if he or she presents themselves as the owner of the ticket to the state lottery authority.  Ultimately, the suspects demand something of the value from the victims, preferably cash, as their protection.

The suspects have been so creative as to call a third suspect on the phone who pretends to be a representative from the state lottery office.  The victim was allowed to speak to this person by cell phone to verify the ticket.  Sometimes the conversation on the cell phone is by speakerphone.

The victims drove to their homes and banks to retrieve money and/or jewelry and gave it to the suspects and later found out there was no winning lottery ticket.

Detectives are warning the public to beware of strangers approaching them and claiming to have a winning lottery ticket.

The suspects are identified only as male and female Hispanic ranging in age from mid-twenties to late-forties.

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 Foothill Area Detectives at 818-834-3142.  During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-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 LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.