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New Jersey scammer defrauds 3 elderly women of $675,000

Dec 4, 2020, 2:39 pm

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Scam AlertScam Alert: New Jersey scammer defrauds 3 elderly women of $675,000Rating:

Lotteries urge players to be wary of the telltale signs you are being scammed

By Kate Northrop

A scammer from New Jersey tricked three elderly women across the country into sending her over $675,000 by convincing them that they owed "prepaid taxes" as a prerequisite for claiming a prize that didn't exist.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for New Jersey, Shanile Lyle, 27, of Orange was charged on Monday with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud after wrongly convincing her victims that they won a nonexistent prize and must pay a sum in order to claim it.

Lyle had telephoned several elderly women in June 2018 with false congratulations and promises of big winnings. In one instance, she managed to convince a 94-year-old woman from Hawaii that she won a $6 million prize from the Publishers Clearing House (PCH) Sweepstakes. The end result? She sent Lyle over 20 checks worth over $500,000.

Upon receiving the checks, Lyle would then deposit them into her own accounts before transferring some of the money to her unnamed co-conspirators.

It is not uncommon for a scammer to claim that they are affiliated with PCH. According to the organization, winners of prizes more than a couple hundred dollars will never be contacted by email, bulk mail, or telephone, rather a representative will either appear in person to deliver the news or send a certified letter.

"At PCH the winning is always free and you NEVER have to pay to claim a prize," their website reads. "If someone contacts you claiming to be from PCH, and tells you that you've won a prize — then asks you to send a payment or money card in order to claim the prize — STOP! You have not heard from the real PCH."

Lyle's second victim was a 75-year-old woman from Kentucky, who was convinced by Lyle that she won a $2 million prize and a car.  Not only was she duped into purchasing cell phones and gift cards, but she sent the fraudster checks worth $30,000.

Lyle then defrauded a third person, an 86-year-old woman from Indiana. Similarly to the victim from Kentucky, she phoned up the woman and told her that she won a "large sum of money and an automobile," according to court documents. She sent Lyle about $20,000.

The checks the scammer and her conspirators received from her victims totaled at least $675,000.

The maximum penalty for committing wire fraud is a sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the pecuniary gain to the defendant or twice the gross loss involved, whichever is greater. Lyle was released on a $200,000 unsecured bond.

With the risk of COVID-19 transmission influencing every decision about how we interact with others, many family members will undoubtedly stay at home this holiday season to avoid either contracting or transmitting the coronavirus to their loved ones. For the elderly, loneliness compounded with the isolation many will face this winter means that lottery scammers have more susceptible targets to defraud.

The Montana Lottery warned players on Tuesday of the telltale signs that someone is attempting to defraud you. One might notice that the New Jersey scammer followed a classic formula that is often used to target particularly vulnerable citizens, such as the elderly.

Many scammers, like Lyle, will send their victims an unsolicited letter, email, or phone call claiming to be a representative of an organization, including a private sweepstakes firm, a lottery commission, or even a legitimate lottery in a foreign country. These messages and calls all deliver all kinds of false congratulatory statements — "Congratulations, you've won!" or "You're a lucky winner!"

However, the easiest way to tell that it is a scam is if the supposed "representative" of the organization tells the victim that they must wire money as a fee or form of prepaid taxes. Scammers will likely request that money be wired since it is harder to trace.

"You'll never win a legitimate lottery you didn't enter," Montana Lottery Director Angela Wong stated in a press release. "You'll never be asked to pay upfront for a legitimate lottery prize, and you'll never be contacted out of the blue by a legitimate lottery."

A legitimate Lottery will never, ever contact someone to tell them that they've won a prize. An official Lottery only knows the winning numbers on a ticket and where it was sold, but they have no way of knowing who won until the winner steps forward. If a player is in possession of a ticket but does not know whether their ticket is a winner, they should contact Lottery officials.

It is also impossible to win a lottery or contest that you never entered, nor will a winner ever be asked to pay a sum of money prior to receiving a prize. Federal and state taxes are automatically deducted from a prize before it is awarded to a winner. The only price a player pays is the price of the ticket they bought.

Scammers might also contact their potential victims claiming to be affiliated with a lottery from a foreign government. The sale of tickets for lotteries of foreign countries in the United States is illegal, therefore this is indicative of a scam.

"These scams can really impact your finances and cost you tens of thousands of dollars," Attorney General Tim Fox said. "Scammers prey upon people who live alone, and since the pandemic has led to more isolation, bad actors see this current situation as an opportunity to target people, often senior citizens. Fortunately, by knowing the red flags and exercising caution, consumers can almost totally shield themselves from the lottery scam."

Lottery Post Staff

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9 comments. Last comment 10 months ago by Technut.
Page 1 of 1
Avatar
Simpsonville
United States
Member #163182
January 22, 2015
2728 Posts
Offline

40 km in a leaky old boat....take off the NJ shore, cut his ankles and push overboard.    No sense taxpayers being on the hook for this type of 'man'.

 

Seriously though, somehow wish banks would know something is awry.   Come on now, red flags everywhere.   Twenty checks written for over $500K from one person.

    MADDOG10's avatar - smoke
    50
    Beautiful Florida
    United States
    Member #5709
    July 18, 2004
    25645 Posts
    Offline

    Bleudog101, it's a woman that committed these crimes. But I agree, same punishment.

                                                 

                                                  When violence is the primary language that is spoken; be fluent.

      Avatar
      Simpsonville
      United States
      Member #163182
      January 22, 2015
      2728 Posts
      Offline

      Bleudog101, it's a woman that committed these crimes. But I agree, same punishment.

      That's what I get for skimming.

       

      First sentence was taken, in part, from the four preps...Santa Catalina the island of romance.    40 KM in a leaky old boat, anything old that will stay afloat...when we arrive we'll all promote romance romance or words to that effect!

        HaveABall's avatar - rocket

        United States
        Member #72446
        March 18, 2009
        1391 Posts
        Offline

        Shanile Lyle and her senior robbing friends are very bad humans.

        I feel sad that these old ladies will probably only get a third of their money back.

        Puke

        Having several millions of dollars in my financial accounts means receiving several valuable services each day!

        Disney

          Cassie8620's avatar - oGH0ok
          0807.1120.4213.7447.6442.7664.
          California
          United States
          Member #180563
          March 13, 2017
          5011 Posts
          Offline

          O this is a real shame... But, to the future inmates they are? They don't care.

           

          Heck, they don't even sweat it.

           

          It don't even worry them i believe because like i hear and read that most criminals all ages, are feelin' thinkin' it is "worth it" because the prison time is a short sentence, so they feel it's worth what they stole to "enjoy it while they are a free person." (or) i know that PRISON feel like a summer camp lately past 20yrs or less, from "cable tv. air conditioning "good food" @ times,  to TV in color in your own cell, pen pals, smh Facebook "prison ad" to engage/marry a woman/man et.al., other social media "text" seriously? SMH, visit(s) now video-chat visitation on a "tablet in your own cell" phone calls etc., so why not? SMH

           

          Heck, on a good behavior/school program(s) or other "services" you're able to engage in a facility,

          now a days you're getting out up to 1 or 2 years early! SMH What type of "punishment is that?"

           

          So to them they feel it is 100% worth it, depending on all the cash they are able to steal.smh.

          Praying for the victims.smh. As my father always say, 'til' the punishment in AMERICA fit the crime it will "sadly" continue.

            TYJ*ALL-DAY!'s avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
            Cypress
            United States
            Member #175402
            June 14, 2016
            70 Posts
            Offline

            FGHM

            Numbers 6:24,  Numbers 6:25,  Numbers 6:26,

            Retirement #3995 Lurking

            T.Y.J. All Day!!!

              HoLeeKau's avatar - 40827 jpg?1576607320
              Idaho
              United States
              Member #94279
              July 17, 2010
              2423 Posts
              Offline

              Glad they caught this one, but it doesn't look like her punishment will be very harsh.  She's out on a fairly low unsecured bond.  Anyone know what unsecured means? 

              They need to start punishing these scamsters the same way they punished Madoff.  They are completely ruining the lives of elderly people.

                Technut's avatar - moon
                3rd Rock from Sun
                United States
                Member #159096
                September 13, 2014
                178 Posts
                Offline

                O this is a real shame... But, to the future inmates they are? They don't care.

                 

                Heck, they don't even sweat it.

                 

                It don't even worry them i believe because like i hear and read that most criminals all ages, are feelin' thinkin' it is "worth it" because the prison time is a short sentence, so they feel it's worth what they stole to "enjoy it while they are a free person." (or) i know that PRISON feel like a summer camp lately past 20yrs or less, from "cable tv. air conditioning "good food" @ times,  to TV in color in your own cell, pen pals, smh Facebook "prison ad" to engage/marry a woman/man et.al., other social media "text" seriously? SMH, visit(s) now video-chat visitation on a "tablet in your own cell" phone calls etc., so why not? SMH

                 

                Heck, on a good behavior/school program(s) or other "services" you're able to engage in a facility,

                now a days you're getting out up to 1 or 2 years early! SMH What type of "punishment is that?"

                 

                So to them they feel it is 100% worth it, depending on all the cash they are able to steal.smh.

                Praying for the victims.smh. As my father always say, 'til' the punishment in AMERICA fit the crime it will "sadly" continue.

                if you think what the hell go ahead and do this then why not share the time for the crime with them. our life on this earth is short and precious to all. spending time behind bars is waste of that short time that those that commit crimes fail to realize.

                Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery, Today is a gift that's why it's called the PRESENT! (c8

                  Technut's avatar - moon
                  3rd Rock from Sun
                  United States
                  Member #159096
                  September 13, 2014
                  178 Posts
                  Offline

                  Humans have a short time on this earth we call home. Those that squander that time by thinking of themselves and commiting crimes against fellow humans have not learned to see how precious life really is. each day is special and we must treat it as if it our last day on earth and make most of that day. Rather it be with friends or family. enjoy each day everyone.

                  Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery, Today is a gift that's why it's called the PRESENT! (c8