Friday, November 7, 2008

Lottery Scam Reported In East Naples

WHAT: Lottery Scam

CRIME DATE: Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008

CRIME LOCATION: Wal-Mart, 3451 U.S. 41. E., East Naples

SUSPECT 1: “Maria.” Hispanic female in her 30s, straight dark hair in a ponytail, around 5 feet 8 inches, thin build, wore a gray shirt and brown paints.

SUSPECT 2: “Carmen.” Hispanic female in her 40s, curly blond hair, around 5 feet 6 inches, wore a green shirt, denim capri pants and a visor on her head.

SUMMARY: A 46-year-old woman told deputies that she was scammed out of $10,000 by two women who promised to share lottery winnings with her in exchange for her money and then disappeared.

Collier County Sheriff’s Office reports gave this account:

The victim told deputies that she was approached outside the Wal-Mart store around 11:15 a.m. by a woman who called herself “Maria.” “Maria” appeared upset and told the victim that she had just won the lottery but could not collect her winnings because she’s an illegal immigrant.

They were approached by another woman, who called herself “Carmen” and offered to help. The victim got into a car with the two women and they drove off to discuss the issue further.

“Maria” said she needed to come up with $15,000 to pay the lottery fees, but that she only had $2,000. She asked the victim and “Carmen’’ if they had any money to help her get her winnings and promised to pay each of them back the money they loaned her plus an additional $7,000 apiece.

“Carmen” said she could loan the woman $3,000 and the victim offered to loan the remaining $10,000.

The women then drove the victim to her home in Golden Gate, where she picked up her banking information. Then they took the victim to a bank in East Naples, where she went inside alone and withdrew the money. She came out of the bank and gave her money to the women.

The three then walked over to a nearby grocery store, where “Carmen” went inside, saying she was going to get the lottery paperwork started.

“Carmen” came back out and told the victim that everything was set up, but that the victim needed to go inside the store to sign some paperwork. She gave the victim the name of a specific employee to ask for.

The victim went inside the store and was told the employee was busy. When the victim returned outside, the two women were gone.

Deputies have released composite sketches of the two suspects.

CCSO reminds the public that immigration status does not prevent anyone from cashing a Florida Lottery ticket. In addition, any taxes due are deducted from the winnings.

Anyone with information should call the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at 239-793-9300 or if you wish to remain anonymous call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477).

Cualquier persona con informaciòn debe llamar a La Oficina del Aguacil del Condado de Collier al 239-793-9300 o si desea seguir siendo anònimo llame a Crime Stoppers al 1800-780-Tips (8477).