Los Angeles: Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Northeast Division detectives have arrested one of two suspects who conned an elderly Hispanic woman out of $1,800 in jewelry from her residence utilizing a swindle known as the Latin Lotto Scam.
On July 29th, 2009, a 73-year-old woman was approached by a female Hispanic who claimed she had a winning lottery ticket but could not cash the ticket because she was not a legal resident. A second suspect, later arrested and identified as 40-year-old Richard Jose Perez, approached the victim and the first suspect and joined their conversation. The suspects proceeded to convince the victim to accompany them to her bank and withdraw money to give to them in "good faith." In return, the suspects promised to give the victim the winning lottery ticket, which would supposedly reimburse her for the withdrawn funds. In some cases, suspects have taken the good-faith money and told victims they would contact them later to pay them back, after they’ve cashed in the ticket.
In this case, the victim was denied money at her bank, so the suspects drove the victim to her residence in the East Hollywood area with the intention of stealing money and/or jewelry from the victim’s home. At the location, suspect Perez remained in his car as a lookout, while the other suspect entered the residence with the victim. Once inside, the suspect was able to obtain approximately $1,800 in jewelry, after which, both the victim and the suspect walked back outside. At this point, the suspect persuaded the victim to return to her residence for additional paperwork, and while the victim was inside, the suspects left the location. They were driving a white Toyota 4-Runner.
LAPD Northeast Division burglary detectives were able to locate a video of the suspect’s vehicle and learned it was a rental car. Detectives further learned that a debit card was used to rent the car, and they were able to obtain a video of a recent debit card transaction in the Hollywood area.
On August 3rd, 2009, detectives located the Toyota 4-Runner, with Perez driving, in the Hollywood area. Perez was subsequently arrested, and during an interview, he admitted to the scam involving the above victim. However, he refused to name the co-suspect.
After Perez’ arrest, detectives received information from the South Gate and Long Beach Police Departments regarding their involvement in an ongoing investigation focusing on a group of Latin thieves and hijackers operating out of Los Angeles County. The information provided LAPD detectives with additional leads on Perez, and they discovered he had used an alias of Jose Loaiza, who is currently wanted in the states of Illinois and Florida for robberies and burglaries also involving lotto scams. Additionally, the suspect has been identified by other victims, through other local police agencies and LAPD divisions, including South Pasadena and the Department’s Rampart Area.
Other investigative developments in the scam include South Gate and Long Beach Police Department arrests of four additional suspects. One of the arrested suspects is the wife, and another the son, of LAPD’s suspect Perez. The wife, Luz Perez, is also wanted in several states for lotto scam crimes.
Detectives are currently attempting to identify and locate the second suspect from the July 29 incident. She is described as a female Hispanic approximately 30 years old with red/brown hair, 5 feet to 5 feet 2 inches in height and weighing 120 pounds. She has been seen wearing a white dress with polka dots.
Anyone with information about the identity of the female is encouraged to call a 24-hour toll free number at 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Callers may also text "Crimes" with a cell phone or log onto www.lapdonline.org and click on Web tips. When using a cell phone, all messages should begin with "LAPD". Tipsters may remain anonymous.