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Elderly man loses $20,000 in lottery scam, police say

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: Elderly man loses $20,000 in lottery scam, police say

Police said Wednesday they are investigating a lottery scam that targeted one elderly Vallejo man and possibly other victims in Vacaville and Sacramento.

Vallejo police did not identify the local victim, who is in his 80s. They said he was approached in June by a Hispanic woman as he left Albertson's supermarket, 2001 Solano Ave. "A lot of the lottery scams single out the elderly," Detective James Mathews noted.

The female, who was crying, approached the victim and told him she had a winning lottery ticket worth $180,000, but she was an illegal alien from Mexico and unable to cash it, police said.

The woman told the victim she needed to hire an attorney to help with the problem, but she needed money, police said.

At that point, a second suspect, a Hispanic man, approached the pair and offered help. He told them that if they "paid the taxes," they could redeem the ticket, police said.

The woman offered to pay each man $30,000 from her winnings if each would give her $20,000 for the "taxes."

The victim agreed to the plan, withdrew money from his bank account and gave cash to the con artists, police said. They told him to meet them the following day, saying they would go to the lottery office together, but the pair never returned.

"The victim didn't come forward (to police) until a month later. He waited, hoping the couple would come back. He even went down to the shopping center to see if they would return," Mathews said.

In the past few months, similar scams have been reported in Vacaville and Sacramento. Police believe the scams were by the same pair because the descriptions and crimes were so similar.

While at the Vallejo victim's bank, the surveillance camera captured a grainy shot of the male suspect, wearing a light-colored cowboy hat. He is described as Hispanic, 5-foot-5, 130 pounds and approximately 35 years old, police said.

The female suspect is described as 5-foot-6, 170 pounds, and approximately 52.

Anyone with information is asked to call Mathews at 648-4379.


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