LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) -- Here’s some advice that could save you a fortune: Next time someone asks you to pay money to collect your winnings in a contest, call the authorities.
In this Rip-Off Alert, one victim learned he was not dealing with a contest but a con artist.
Glenn Anschutz was told he was the lucky winner of $3 million and a 2012 Mercedes Benz. All he had to do was pay the fees to the Mega Millions so the winnings could be inspected and cleared for delivery.
Sadly, he sent thousands of dollars.
“He always thought it was to never send money out of the country,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Stacie Johnson. “The fact that the money was still in the U.S. made him comfortable with believing he really did win something.”
The truth is that the letter is part of a foreign lottery scam that was unraveled after a local bank called postal inspectors.
“Individuals coming in, asking odd questions about winning money and about their accounts in general,” Johnson said.
Bank tellers said one of the suspicious men was asking about wiring $15,000 a month and wanted to know exactly how the wiring process worked.
“They thought they were dishwashers or cooks at this resort,” Johnson said. “And they thought since that didn’t add up to $15,000 a month, then they contacted their fraud department.”
Postal inspectors began tracking the money and eventually got a search warrant for the suspect’s home.
“Bank statements, wire transfers, deposits and withdrawals going through bank transfers,” Johnson said. “From that information, we got to speak to five victims.”
Inspectors say there were at least 30 victims.
“One woman said her daughter was dying of cancer and her medical bills were piling up and she and her family didn’t know what to do,” Johnson said. “She thought this was a Godsend and could help her daughter in her final days.”
Investigators found this note in the suspect’s home, begging for her money back. It said: “Please send my $450.00 back. I have bills to pay, otherwise they are going to turn everything off. … I hope you do the right thing and send my money bank.”
Inspectors say the suspects in this case were middle men to people in Jamaica running the foreign lottery scam. All five were indicted and deported back to Jamaica.