Welcome Guest
Log In | Register )
You last visited December 8, 2016, 6:57 am
All times shown are
Eastern Time (GMT-5:00)

Lottery scam takes in pair

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: Lottery scam takes in pair

Two people duped elderly shoppers with an offer that seemed too good to be true. Turns out it was.

Gloria and Hector Ortiz were shopping at a Publix in Weston when a woman approached them with what seemed like a way to make some fast money.

She told the two 82-year-olds she was in the country illegally from Costa Rica, and asked them to cash a winning lottery ticket worth $130,000.

Then, she asked the couple for a deposit of $15,000 that she would give back -- along with a share of the winnings -- once they cashed the ticket.

But instead of paying up, the woman took off with the couple's money.

"If you're ever approached at a supermarket and they tell you they have a winning lottery ticket for you to cash, look away and notify authorities," said Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Liz Calzadilla said.

"It's very likely a scam."

The Ortizes, who are Cuban, apparently found out too late.

"We feel like we're dying," Gloria Ortiz said in a telephone interview. "It hurts your heart when you think it would have been something good and it turns out to be bad."

On Thursday, BSO deputies released surveillance photographs of the woman who duped the Weston couple. BSO is asking for the public's help in finding her.

Here's how the scam worked, according to police: On Tuesday morning, the woman approached the couple in the grocery store at 294 Indian Trace.

She told them she couldn't cash the ticket because she wasn't a legal resident. She showed the couple a counterfeit lottery ticket with winning Fantasy 5 numbers and a newspaper clipping that supposedly proved it.

In exchange, she asked the couple for $15,000 as a security deposit, saying she needed it to complete a $30,000 down payment on a home purchase.

A man joined the woman and the couple outside Publix, and they agreed to meet at a nearby Wachovia bank.

There, the couple withdrew $15,000 from the bank as a cash advance on their Wachovia MasterCard credit line.

Then, the elderly couple invited the suspects to their home for lunch.

The suspects agreed.

But instead of following the couple as they discussed, the suspects fled with the dough.

Hector Ortiz said a BSO deputy informed them on Thursday that they won't have to pay the money back.

The female suspect, who is Hispanic, is believed to be between 40 and 45 years old. She is described as 5-foot-4 and weighing about 150 pounds.

She had a cut on her lower lip. The Hispanic man who accompanied her is believed to be about 5-foot-2 and in his early 20s.

Anyone with information is asked to call Broward CrimeStoppers at 954-493-8477.

Miami Herald

We'd love to see your comments here!  Register for a FREE membership — it takes just a few moments — and you'll be able to post comments here and on any of our forums. If you're already a member, you can Log In to post a comment.

5 comments. Last comment 13 years ago by emilyg.
Page 1 of 1
Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
United States
Member #487
July 15, 2002
17638 Posts
Posted: September 19, 2003, 1:39 pm - IP Logged

Yes, I think the bank in that case should have stepped in right away and at least asked what they were going to do with the money specially if it was not a normal practice for them to withdraw a large amount of money...there are too many older people getting ripped off like this..it is a very sad thing..may the criminals get caught quickly.

If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

You never know when you will get another hit.

    WILLSELL's avatar - chi
    United States
    Member #1924
    July 28, 2003
    113 Posts
    Posted: September 19, 2003, 3:14 pm - IP Logged

    Yes that is approaching "BIG BROTHER".

    The bank has no right to ask what a customer's intentions are.

    They don't ask questions when you deposit unless something seems fishy.

    The laws are very sensitive about the rights of elderly patrons.

    I have a relative who everyone knew need custodial care. But the doctor's hands were tied because as long as the person can say "NO" there is nothing relatives etc.... can do contrary.

    Banks are the same way.

    Would you want a teller to ask you how you plan to spend a big withdraw? (she might tell my wife.....lol)

      emilyg's avatar - cat anm.gif

      United States
      Member #14
      November 9, 2001
      31355 Posts
      Posted: September 19, 2003, 6:57 pm - IP Logged

      bank should have asked.

      love to nibble those micey feet.



        fja's avatar - gnome1

        United States
        Member #91
        January 19, 2002
        11932 Posts
        Posted: September 20, 2003, 6:40 pm - IP Logged

        Thats when the family has to step in....not the banks. You can't place the blame or the responsibility on a business that handles your money. The family has to become resposible with those kind of tough love decisions, not the industries. 

        "Everybody has to believe in something...I believe I'll have another beer!"   = W.C.Fields                      

          emilyg's avatar - cat anm.gif

          United States
          Member #14
          November 9, 2001
          31355 Posts
          Posted: September 20, 2003, 7:40 pm - IP Logged

          some elderly are not fortunate enough to have families or families that care.

          love to nibble those micey feet.