Crimes of Persuasion

Schemes, scams, frauds.

Lottery Scams

Advance Fee Victim of Lottery Scam Loses Money

04/08 - WOODBRIDGE- A 45-year-old Iselin man was scammed out of $2,700 after he was told he won a Merchant Bank Sweepstakes.

The victim received a phone call and was advised that he had just won the Merchant Bank Sweepstakes for $250,000 and he needed to forward $750 to receive his winnings. On Feb. 27, he sent $750 through Western Union to Jamaica.

Another call was made later that day, and the victim was told that they had made a mistake and that he had actually won $2.5 million and he needed to send another $1,950.

The victim told the caller that he could not afford to send any more money. The caller called the victim two days later and said if he could send $1,000, then the caller would put in the extra $950 for him. The victim again told the caller that he could not afford it.

Then on March 10, the victim received a call from a man stating that he was the supervisor for the sweepstakes, and said the caller who told the victim that she would put in the extra $950 for him was suspended. The supervisor told the victim that they still needed $1,000 from him if he wanted his winnings. The victim sent $1,000 via Western Union to Jamaica.

On March 17, the victim received another phone call stating that he would receive his winnings, but had to pay the balance of $950 to get his money, so the victim sent the $950 via Western Union. The victim received a call with a confirmation number and was told that he would receive his check by that night, but he never received it. The victim attempted to call the number back four times.

Police informed the victim that since the callers are in Jamaica and that is where he sent the money, there is not much that can be done to get his money returned to him. The victim requested that the detective bureau look into the matter anyway.


Lottery scams affect elderly victims the most.

01/07 - (Houston TX) - She lost it all. An elderly woman is about penniless because Houston police say she trusted her life savings to a person promising a fortune in return. Instead of riches, Mrs. Edgar was scammed out of her life savings.

And there have been reports of other victims who received a slick telephone sales pitch from the voice who claimed to be, “president.”

For 85-year-old Lorene Edgar, it was a costly ordeal that spun out of control. Mrs. Edgar was the victim of a scam. “Makes me feel about that high, so humiliated and shamed,” she said.

It all began with a phone call from someone claiming to be with the Jamaican Lottery.

“And he said, ‘Ms. Edgar I’ve got good news. You have won sweepstakes for 2 million point five’,” she explained. Only, the man told her in order to receive the cash prize, she had to send money.

So Edgar wired $1,500 and wired thousands more over the next two weeks. “I just can’t believe that they could talk me into this and I just kept sending it.”

Edgar even believed it when a man claiming to be the Jamaican president called. “He kept talking and all and all and finally, I guess, gave in because I sent some more money.”

Edgar eventually unplugged her phone when the harassing phone calls wouldn’t stop. Only then would she realize she had been taken.

“It’s still heartbreaking,” said Houston Police Sergeant Mike Williams. Sgt. Williams said crimes like this are nearly impossible to solve, since anyone can claim the wired money anywhere in the world.  And all too often, it’s the elderly who are targeted. “We are seeing a lot of this going on,” Sgt. Williams said.

Lorene Edgar lost about $16,000, her entire life savings. And perhaps even more troubling, HPD’s financial crimes unit receives an average of 1,300 calls a month about lottery and phone scams.

Sadly, Mrs. Edgar was saving to pay for her own burial expenses, so that her children wouldn’t have to.


Fake Australian Lottery Scam Dupes Senior Victim

11/06 - (UK) - HEARTBROKEN pensioner Jean Stanton lost her life-savings and her £140,000 home to a ruthless prize draw conman.

A smooth-talking American crook, calling himself Gregory Johnson Anderson, phoned the 74-year-old widow daily demanding cash after she replied to a letter telling her she was in line for a £132,000 windfall.

He even told Jean he had fallen for her and would use the cash from her house sale to buy them a place in Washington DC. But after he had fleeced her out of about £200,000, the calls stopped and the fraudster disappeared.

Jean said: "When I realised he wouldn't call again I wanted to die. I had absolutely nothing. I was homeless and penniless."

Jean, whose second husband Lewis died in 2001, started sending cash after Anderson's company The Universal Trust got in touch in September 2004 telling her she had won the Australian lottery.

Anderson got mum-of-one Jean to send money to mail boxes in England and abroad, telling her she had to pay fees to secure her "winnings".

Within months her savings, worth tens of thousands, and the bulk of her £106-a-week pension were gone.

Jean, from Spalding, Lincs said: "He was lovely to talk to. He told me about his life and job.

He said he lived with his wife but they were no longer a couple - but that's why I could not call him. I suppose I was gullible, but we grew very close."

Although the pair had never met, Anderson convinced Jean to sell up and invest in property in the US.

She sold her bungalow for £140,000 and sent Anderson the £78,000 profit by the difficult to trace Western Union wire service. Police thought the transaction was suspicious and contacted Jean warning her she may be the victim of a scam. Tragically, she refused to believe Anderson could rip her off, and signed forms authorising the payment.

Jean last heard from him on August 23 last year after she warned him the police had contacted her.

She now has a council house, near the home she once owned.

She said: "I feel ill all the time - I'm sick with depression." Police are now investigating the case.

Jean was one of hundreds of readers who flooded the Mirror's phonelines with calls after we told how a 78-year-old Plymouth pensioner lost his £90,000 life savings to prize draw scams.

Consumer Minister Ian McCartney said: "These people make me sick and despite laws and organisations like Trading Standards, they will always find a way to con.

"I know it can be hard to resist what seems like free money but I would urge anyone who receives one of these prize draw wins to bin it."


Retired Victim's Life Savings Lost to Lottery Scams

03/08 - (UK) - A PENSIONER has lost her entire life savings in a foreign lottery scam.

Joan Winters, 82, of Darlington was even told she should try and sell her house in order to claim her winnings.

Ms Winter paid out nearly £26,000 after phone calls and letters from abroad told her she had won £400,000 in a lottery.

She was told she could claim the money if she paid out for lawyers fees and taxes.

Durham police have warned that thousands of people have been targeted by the scam and they have already received dozens of complaints.

Ms Winter said: "They were saying, its going to be there in two or three weeks, and then you'd get to the end there, oh well, we've hit another snag, the gaming commission want so much, or the tax people want so much."

When Ms Winter told them that she had no more money she was asked if she had any equity on her house.

She added: "I said, do you mean to tell me I've got to sell it to the last brick to try and get what I'm supposed to have won."

Inspector Geoff Smith of Durham police said thousands of leaflets arrive in crates at airports and are distributed across the country.

He said: "We become aware of them in Durham when people report it to us, but there are thousands of these things.

"Last weekend for example we received about 50 of these and numerous telephone calls about people receiving them in the post."

(The Northern Echo)

More examples at Lottery Fraud, Nigerian Lottery Scams, Lotto International, Jamaican Lottery Scams.