Valley Hit by Latin Lotto Scam

December 19, 2007

Los Angeles: Police say the Valley area has been hit by what is being referred to as the “Latin Lotto Scam,” and wants to issue a warning to the public about a lotto scam that targets Spanish-speaking residents.

A group of con artists try to scam their victims out of thousands of dollars by claiming they have a winning ticket and need assistance finding a lotto office to collect their winnings. They enlist their victims by promising to share the prize money, if they put up some “good faith” money or jewelry. Once the victim gives up their money or jewelry, the suspects’ hand the victim a bag full of newspaper and are never seen again.

The suspects are also Spanish-speaking and target Latino middle aged to elderly victims.

In two recent incidents, Detective Randy Elzingo estimated the suspects have conned the victims out of $7,500.00 in cash and jewelry.

Investigators believe that there are two scam operation teams made up of two suspects a piece. The first team is described as a man and woman 30 to 50 years old. The man has black or gray hair. He stands 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 150 pounds. His partner has black hair. She’s 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds. The second team consists of two men. Police describe the first man as 60 years old. He’s 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds. The second man is described as 40 to 49 year of age, standing 5 feet 8 inches tall, and weighs 200 pounds.

The suspects were last seen driving a newer silver mini-van with gray interior and a 90’s dark color SUV.

“The victims need to be aware that these scams sound too good to be true, so don’t buy into it,” said Detective Elzingo. “If someone approaches you, walk away and call the police.”

Anyone with information regarding this scam is asked to contact Mission Detective Elzinga at 818-838-9810. During off-hours or on weekends call the 24-hour toll free number at 1-877-LAWFULL (529-3855).