St. Charles Herald-Guide

Don’t let lottery crooks sucker you out of your money: Sheriff

Staff Report - February 14, 2007

St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne warns residents about a new scam that was previously reported - but deserves an update.

According to reports from the S.O., a Destrehan man received a letter in the mail stating that he was a winner in the e-Casino Gaming Sweepstakes Lottery.

The man, who was not identified, was told that he was one of only six winners to share $408,000 with his portion being $68,000.

Enclosed with the letter was a check for $2,950. The man was directed to deposit the check into his bank account and then wait 24 to 48 hours for the it to clear. He was also instructed to contact a “claims agent” at a European phone number.

Suspicious of a scam, the man contacted the credit union on which the check was drafted. Officials there confirmed his suspicions - the “lottery win” was the bait in a scam, and the Destrehan resident was not the only intended victim.

“At least two parish residents have been victimized by this scam,” says the sheriff.

“In one of the cases the victim was advised to cash the check and then send in a ‘commisssion’ or a ‘fee’ that was about half the amount of the check.

“In cases like this, upon recipt of the victim’s money order, the scammer quickly cashes it and absconds with the victim’s money.

“Then the victim is informed by his local bank that the original check deposited by the victim is fake. If it sounds too good to be true it most likely is,” continued the sheriff.

He urges all citizens to tread suspicious mail carefully. If something seems “funny,” call and inquire before signing anything or giving out sensitive information.