Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Police Department's Commercial Crimes Unit has arrested three suspects for 487 PC, Grand Theft on November 17, 2015 and detectives are seeking additional victims of the lotto scam.
In each crime, the suspects targeted elderly Hispanic females and utilized similar tactics to gain their trust. One suspect would drive up to an elderly female Hispanic on the sidewalk or parking lot in a grey 2016 Kia Sportage, license 7MIP728. The driver then would ask for help cashing a Fantasy 5 Lotto ticket. The driver would say a coyote stole their identification papers or use another excuse for the inability to cash in on the winnings. The driver then promised to share the winnings.
The second suspect will be nearby posing as a stranger and offer to help in a bid to convince the victim about the legitimacy of driver. When the victim gets in the car, the driver would make a phone call on speaker to the third suspect who impersonates a representative of the Lotto Commission to confirm the winning numbers.
The lotto representative would inform the driver that anyone who is assisting should bring good faith money or jewelry. When the victim presented the money or jewelry, the driver would place it in an envelope and have a duplicate envelope ready. The suspects in the vehicle then would use a ruse to get the victim out of the car, give them the duplicate envelope and drive away with the victim's property.
Detectives also want to warn anyone in the community that while there has been an arrest for this lotto scheme, similar crimes are perpetrated regularly, especially against the elderly community. These suspects have been linked to scams in south Los Angeles, San Gabriel, San Fernando Valley and possibly Santa Barbara and Oxnard.
Anyone with information is urged to call Commercial Crimes Division detectives, at 213-486-6940. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters "LAPD." Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.