San Jose police Thursday released composite sketches of two men sought in a recent lottery scam in which an elderly man lost $8,000 cash while trying to help a man he believed held a winning ticket.
A pair of men approached the 81-year-old victim Wednesday while he was walking out of a Kmart at McKee Road and Jackson Avenue and separately asked him for directions. One man wanted to know where an attorney's office was located. He then explained that he held a winning lottery ticket but feared redeeming it because of his illegal status in the country, police said.
The man then pretended to call the state lottery office on his cell phone and passed the receiver to the victim. The victim later told police he believed he was talking to a lottery official who appeared to confirm the man's story.
The two men then somehow persuaded the victim to drive to a bank and withdraw $8,000 from his personal account and get a cashier's check for $12,000, which they had planned to cash at another bank, said San Jose police spokeswoman Gina Tepoorten.
When the victim tried to cash the check, he was approached by a bank manager who was concerned about the "suspicious" withdrawal recorded at another bank, Tepoorten said. The unidentified man told the manager about the winning lottery ticket, and the manager then called police.
"You can pretty much guess what happened next -- the suspects and the money were gone," Tepoorten said. "This seems to be happening quite often. . . . These people target the elderly."
The victim described the con men as two middle-age Latinos, one a Spanish speaker in his mid-50s with gray hair, medium build and wearing a baseball cap. The other man is about 45 to 50 years old, 5 feet 8 inches and 160 pounds with brown hair.
Anyone with information can call (408) 277-4521, or to remain anonymous, (408) 947-STOP.