A Stockton woman has become the third to tell Lodi police that she was the victim of a lottery scam that bilks thousands of dollars from older, Hispanic women.
The 74-year-old woman, whom police Detective Leo Ramirez did not identify because the woman is embarrassed, was so convinced by the deal that she gave the suspects $6,000.
The woman, Ramirez said, was shopping in Wal-Mart when a Hispanic woman approached her, asking for directions to a local store. The victim had never heard of the store, but the suspect kept asking.
Then a man appeared, saying he knew of the business. In the process, the suspect woman said she had a secret: She had a winning $33,000 lottery ticket, but couldn't cash it in because she was an undocumented resident.
She and the man convinced the victim to "go halves" with the man to buy the lottery ticket, then cash it in, Ramirez said.
So the woman went to her bank, withdrew $6,000, and gave it to the people. They convinced her they needed to go to another store, and when the victim went in the store, the other two people vanished - with her money.
What the victim didn't know was that California State Lottery rules dictate that anyone may cash in a ticket, regardless of residency.
And, the victim also didn't know that she's not the first Hispanic woman to be targeted in Lodi. Ramirez is still investigating two similar cases, and he thinks there may be more.
In each case, the victims and suspects spoke Spanish, and there were at least two suspects - though the male suspect arrived later and pretended he did not know the other suspect, Ramirez said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Ramirez at 333-6872.