News

Danville man defrauded in lotto scam

Duo tricks resident into handing over $8,750 in cash

An act of kindness cost a Danville resident dearly, when he was bilked out of thousands of dollars in a scam involving the Superlotto.

Danville Police Sgt. Dan Hoffman said the incident occurred at 1:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 9, in the parking lot at Costco. The victim, a 50-year-old Danville man, was leaving the store when he was approached by a man described as a Hispanic in his mid-30s.

"The man attempts to communicate with the victim in broken English that he was looking for an attorney's office. While the two were conversing, a second man approached them," said Hoffman.

This man was described as a white male in his 40s, with an eastern European accent. This individual stated that he could translate for the Hispanic man.

The victim was told that the Hispanic man had purchased a Superlotto ticket that hit the jackpot, winning $66 million. The second suspect explained that the jackpot winner couldn't redeem his prize because he was an illegal immigrant and feared he would be deported if he came forward to claim the jackpot.

The second suspect suggested that he and the victim offer to purchase the winning ticket for $60,000. When the victim hesitated, the suspect suggested they call the phone number on the ticket to verify it was a winner. He did so, telling the victim that it was real but only worth $11 million due to multiple winners.

The ticket holder then said, through his translator, that he would accept $40,000. When the victim again hesitated, the second suspect told him he can buy in for whatever percent he wanted.

The victim drove the pair to two different Wells Fargo branches, one in San Ramon and the other in Dublin, withdrawing a total of $8,750 from savings accounts and a credit line and brought it to the two waiting men. The white male offered to allow the victim to hold the winning ticket, in exchange for the money.

At that point, the Hispanic man claimed to be having a medical emergency and sent his accomplice into the nearby Longs drugs for his "medicine." The man quickly returned and said that the person purchasing the drug needed to be over 50, so he asked the victim to go in and get it. Moments later when the victim returned, both men and the money were gone.

Hoffman said this is the first scam of this kind the police have seen here in Danville. He said the situation had many red flags that should have alerted the victim to the shady intentions of the pair.

"We're encouraging people to use a little common sense," he said. "If something appears to be too good to be true, it probably is and they're probably being defrauded somehow."

Hoffman added that any resident who comes across something similar should notify the police immediately.

"There's a chance that it could be for real," he said, "but you just can't take a chance like that." He said that the victim was fortunate that the scam artists were not violent or the situation could have ended very badly.

Police are coordinating with other area departments to see if the pair of scam artists is working the Bay Area. In addition, investigators are working to develop leads that could allow them to identify the two men.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Alamo Mom
a resident of Alamo
on Feb 20, 2009 at 8:26 am

"Act of Kindness"??? Since when is trying to exchange $10k for $11MM from an illegal alien an act of kindness? Wouldn't an act of kindness be to help find legal support services? Kind of seems more like greed to me. With a strong dash of stupidity thrown in. I'm not a big fan of blaming the victim, but the subject of this article seems to be only the victim of his own stupidity.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Duffy
a resident of Danville
on Feb 20, 2009 at 9:00 am

Life is full of little intelligence tests.... this was just another one!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Danville Mom
a resident of Danville
on Feb 21, 2009 at 6:55 pm

Can't believe he fell for it.....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by rob
a resident of Alamo
on Feb 22, 2009 at 12:56 am

I don't believe he fell for it either. But as far as the first, rather mean poster is concerned, he stopped to talk to the guy who obviously needed help. it wasn't until the second guy got involved that there was any talk of buying the ticket.

In this society, it's pretty rare for anyone to stop and talk to a stranger, especially foreign ones, to help out. And i'm bettng after this happened to him he probably won't stop to help anyone else out. Which is a real shame.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Todd
a resident of Danville
on Feb 24, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Pure greed, serves him right for being that stupid.
Rob, your notion that its rare that strangers dont talk to one another is off base. Most people are friendly and will stop to answer a question or give directions. You need to come over to Danville where the people are friendly and some are stupid.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by JJ50
a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Feb 25, 2009 at 7:42 am

I fell for the same scam but I was working with the 3rd stepson of the deposed leader of Ethiopia…


 +   Like this comment
Posted by J & J
a resident of Danville
on Feb 25, 2009 at 9:09 am

We attended the Bank of the West presentation about identity theft and scams exactly like it. I heard of this particular scam maybe a decade ago. I thought everyone was familiar with it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Danville
on Feb 25, 2009 at 10:22 am

You people are cruel. Didn't your mom ever teach you that if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all.

None of you were there and you have no idea how convincing the scammers were. So imagine the victim is reading this, and keep your ugly comments to yourself.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous2
a resident of Danville
on Feb 25, 2009 at 11:55 am

I am with you Anonymous.

If you have strong feelings and want to share, go talk to a friend (maybe he/she can open your eyes to a different point of view). Remember, once these comments are posted, they always hurt someone.

Maybe next time your comment can be helpful and teach others how you would better deal with the situation.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PE
a resident of Danville
on Feb 27, 2009 at 6:22 pm

If people can still get scammed in a neighborhood that is primarily educated and considered safe (San Ramon is made up of higher income people compared to many places in the US), then perhaps it is a lesson to everyone and anyone that you can easily be fooled too. However, in this case, I was surprised that this man had driven two strangers in his car---that alone was stupid since he could have been vulnerable to a worst crime. It is unfortunate that we cannot trust a stranger even in an area where we shop routinely or are familiar. However, one can always call the police to help someone out and when helping someone, even a young teenager, keep your guard up!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Scott J
a resident of Danville
on Mar 4, 2009 at 6:20 am

I have to agree with the "Alamo Mom" as she questioned the writer of this article. Act of kindness? If it's legit, he's being offered $11m for $40k from an non-speaking illegal immigrant. Who's scamming who? Let's reserve our sympathy for true victims. This gentleman may have been scammed but his greed got him into the mess, not his good heart.


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