Spanish Speakers Targeted in Con Artist Lotto Scams NR13102sm

March 28, 2013

Los Angeles:  Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Mission Division Detectives are warning San Fernando Valley Spanish-speaking residents about con artists who trick victims in lotto ticket schemes.

Mission Division Robbery Detective, Marc Madero warns that theft by trickery is becoming a crime that is being reported more often than in previous years. Mission Division usually sees about six to eight a year but this year we are seeing a significant increase, with two in the last week and four in the last month.

Elderly Spanish speaking citizens are the primary target.  The scam artists have been Spanish-speaking men or women who approach the unsuspecting victim and ask them to cash a winning Lotto ticket.  They tell the victim they can’t claim the winning ticket because they are illegal.  The con artists convince the victims to help by redeeming the winning ticket, then splitting the prize.

The con artist also convinces the victims to put up money as a show of good faith.  The ticket is counterfeit and the con artist makes off with the good-faith money.

Victims have reported being tricked into giving $1,000 at a time.  In several instances when the victim had no cash, the con artist suggests the victim put up jewelry instead of the money.

Detectives are offering the following tips to protect the public from these scams.

The state of California Lotto does NOT require money from the winner to cash winning ticket.
US citizenship is NOT a requirement for winning a lottery prize
If you are approached by a person with such an offer, do NOT fall prey and call police

Anyone with information on this crime is urged to call Detecive Marc Madero, Mission Robbery Unit, at 818-838-9898.  During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247).  Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).  Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers 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.

Det. Madero speaks Spanish and is available for interviews.