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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | WEST COUNTY / OXNARD

Lottery Swindle Claims New Victim

September 02, 1998|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT

A 52-year-old Oxnard woman is the latest victim of a lottery scam in which a person pretending to have a winning ticket pitches a bogus story about needing help to cash it in, police said Tuesday.

The case is the third in Oxnard and Ventura since mid-July, and detectives believe a man and two female accomplices are responsible for all three.

In each case, the victim was a Latina, Spanish-speaking and at least 50 years old. Also in each case, one of the swindlers told the victim he or she needed help finding the telephone number for an attorney named "Durant."

"They are real convincing and they are feeding off people's greed," Oxnard Det. Martin Polo said Tuesday.

In the latest case, the victim was cheated out of $1,500 in cash after being approached Aug. 11 near The Esplanade mall in the 1800 block of Ventura Road in Oxnard.

The swindlers, working two at a time, persuade a victim to pay money upfront in exchange for part of the winning ticket's proceeds, Polo said.

On Aug. 4, a 67-year Oxnard woman was scammed out of $27,000 in gold coins, and on July 16, a 50-year-old Ventura woman handed over $2,500 in cash after being approached near California Street and Thompson Boulevard in Ventura, police said.

The swindlers are described as a Latino man with black hair, 45 to 50 years old and 5 feet 8; a Latina about 45 years old, 5 feet 2 and 180 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes; and a Latina with reddish-brown hair, about 30 years old, 5 feet 6 and 130 pounds.

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