Santa Paula Times

Lottery Scam hits Santa Paula

July 21, 2006
SP woman falls for lottery scam
Santa Paula Police Department

Do you know this person? If so, please contact the Santa Paula Police Department.

By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula timesA woman who doesn’t fit the usual mold and was in an unusual location for being the target of a lottery scam lost thousands of dollars, but this time Santa Paula Police investigators have a bank surveillance tape showing one of the suspects, according to a SPPD spokesman. The incident occurred June 17, said Detective Wally Boggess, but the victim didn’t report the rip-off until several days later.The incident occurred midday while the 54-year-old unidentified woman was in her residential neighborhood and a man approached her. “He told her he had a winning Lottery ticket,” but needed an up-front payment of $15,000 required by the California Lottery before he could collect his winnings. If the woman helped him, the suspect said he would give her $20,000.As the victim and suspect were talking, they were approached by a second man who “pretended to be an uninvolved person who just happened to be in the area,” said Det. Boggess. “This second suspect told the victim that the two of them should help by giving the first suspect the $15,000,” and then used his cell phone and pretended to call the California Lottery to confirm that the winning ticket was legitimate.The victim drove the two suspects to her Santa Paula located bank; the first suspect accompanied her inside, where she withdrew a large sum of money. “After giving this money to the first suspect, she drove back to her residence, where she gave the suspect additional cash she had kept in the house.” With that, the two suspects drove off in a white, four-door vehicle and the victim “never saw them again... she contacted the SPPD two days later,” Det. Boggess noted.The victim was unusual because of her age: “Typically, the elderly are targeted for these kinds of scams, but the victim was pretty trusting.” It was also out of the norm that the victim was approached in a residential neighborhood. “Victims are usually approached in parking lots, but if you can get moving around an area where the elderly might live you have more potential victims that way.” Such familiarity with the area could suggest that the suspects are local, he added.Overall, “This was a significant amount of savings” for the victim, who “fears retaliation understandably and is very nervous” that the suspects know where she and her family live.
The victim and suspects are Spanish speaking, and the victim described the doers as middle-aged male Hispanics, both with medium builds, the “generic description,” noted Det. Boggess. But the description of one of the suspects is much better: the SPPD was able to obtain the surveillance tape of the victim and the suspect inside the bank.Det. Boggess has some advice for the public: “Be aware of these kinds of scams... if approached, it’s best to walk away and call the SPPD as soon as possible. These scam artists prey on the trusting and usually contact numerous potential victims. And if anyone has been victimized recently and not come forward, please contact us. Sometimes people are embarrassed to report” such incidents, but “they are the victim and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”In June an elderly Santa Paula man rebuffed the overtures of a woman and a man who tried to ensnare him in a lottery scam, an incident that was reported to the SPPD.The SPPD is asking those who have information about this crime to contact Det. Boggess, 933-4237, or the SPPD recorded Tip Hotline at 933-4253-1-#. Callers can remain anonymous. Or, call the WeTip hotline at (800) 78-Crime (782-7463). All information offered remains anonymous, even if the tipster qualifies for a WeTip reward.