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Lottery scheme targets Spanish speakers in the Valley

October 28, 2010 |  6:36 pm

Los Angeles police are warning the public about several con artists who have been duping Spanish-speaking individuals in a lottery scam throughout the San Fernando Valley.

Working in pairs, the con artists approach a person and tell him that they have a winning lottery ticket but cannot claim the money because they are illegal immigrants, police said. The victim is told that if he will cash the ticket, he can share in the winnings -- but only if he gives the con artists something of value as collateral, usually money or jewelry, to ensure that he doesn't keep the winnings.

As part of the scam, police said, the con artists often call an accomplice who pretends to be a representative from the state lottery office and verifies the ticket.

Ultimately, the victims learn the lottery ticket isn't a winner, and they have lost the collateral they gave to the con artists, police said.

Anyone with information on the scam or who may have been a victim should call LAPD Foothill area detectives at (818) 834-3142.

-- Raja Abdulrahim