Crimes of Persuasion

Schemes, scams, frauds.

Costa Rica Lottery Scam

Western Union Transfer to Costa Rica Lottery Scam Operation Lost

06/05 - Wisconsin state police say an 84-year-old woman who wired $5,000 to Costa Rica after she was told she'd won a $3.5 million lottery probably never will see any winnings or her money.

The Janesville woman told police Friday that she'd received a call June 11 from American Direct Sweepstakes saying she'd won a $35,000 lottery but needed to wire them $900 to pay taxes and tariffs on her winnings.

That afternoon, the woman sent $900 through Western Union to San José, Costa Rica.

Four days later, the woman received a letter saying there had been a mistake and that she'd actually won $3.5 million, but she needed to send an addition $1,100 to pay taxes and tariffs.

That afternoon, she sent $1,100 more to San José, Costa Rica.

The following day, the woman received a phone call from American Direct Sweepstakes. The caller told the woman there had been a problem at the U.S. border, and she needed to send an additional $3,000 to receive her winnings.

At 4:30 p.m. June 16, the woman sent another $3,000 through Western Union to San José, Costa Rica.

On Friday, the woman still had no winnings, and she called police.

An officer told her that she had been the victim of a scam, warned her not to send any more money to American Direct Sweepstakes and told her to ignore any other calls or letters saying that she'd won a lottery.

The officer also called the woman's son, who said he would call his mother's bank to see if he can prevent her from being victimized in the future.


Millions in Victim Losses from Costa Rican Lottery Scam

05/06 - A Costa Rican newspaper has reported that five people have been arrested as ringleaders in connection with a $20 million lottery scam that operated out of Central America since 2003 and bilked several senior citizens in the U.S., including a Fayette County woman.

Costa Rican and U.S. authorities said three of the men arrested are American, and two are Canadian, according to A.M. Costa Rica, a publication based in San Jose.

In September 2004, a 67-year-old Fairchance woman lost more than $4,000 after a scam artist claimed she'd won $3.5 million in a sweepstakes and had to pay for insurance to recoup her winnings.

The caller implied the sanction of legitimate agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Treasury to convince the woman she had to pay $4,175 insurance costs.

At that time, the male caller asked the woman why she did not respond to a letter from American Direct Sweepstakes in Las Vegas notifying her about her contest winnings. After convincing her of the contest's legitimacy, the woman wired money via Western Union to Costa Rica.

She never received a check for her winnings after she sent the money.

A.M. Costa Rica editor James Brodell said 17 raids were conducted Tuesday at homes that were serving as call centers. He had not been able to determine which U.S. agency would be handling the extradition of the suspects.


Call Center Operator Deported for Costa Rica Lottery Scam

05/08 - (Costa Rica) - According to a report filed over a year ago by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Jaime Ligator, owner of the Horseshoe casino in San José, detained last May 18, contributed financially to the opening a call centre that was presumable used to defraud dozens of Americans with false prizes.

Ligator, when he was arrested, was the president of World Wide Land Investments which had offices on the third floor of Mall San Pedro. This is a firm that specializes in selling lots to North Americans, according to AM Costa Rica.

A former sportsbook owner, Max Allan Stone, was also named in the case and alleged to have been part of the scam that preyed on mostly elderly citizens living in the United States.

The scam artists called people in the United States informing them they had won a lottery. The victim was then supposed to send a “deposit” anywhere from $300 to $4,000 via Western Union, a police spokesman told AM Costa Rica.

Another of those named in the complaint, Severin Marcel Stone, 28, and presumably a relative of Max Allan, is being extradited back to the United States.

Severin Marcel Stone was detained in January in San Rafael de Escazú where he operated a food outlet in a shopping mall.


More info at Lottery Scams, Lotto International, Jamaican Lottery Arrests, International Lottery Fraud.