Photo by Alexander Nguyen
Photo by Alexander Nguyen

A “coyote scam” targeting elderly Latinas with fake winning Lotto tickets has ended with the arrest of three people, and Los Angeles Police said they were looking if there were any other victims.

Martha Gonzalez, Andrea Carolina Maldonado and Juan Manuelrol Gonzalez were arrested for grand theft on Nov, 17, according to a report from the Los Angeles Police Department.

“The driver would say a coyote stole their identification papers or use another excuse for their inability to cash in on their winnings,” according to the news statement. “The driver then promised to share the winnings.”

The scam involved a suspect driving up to a woman who was either on the sidewalk or a parking lot and ask them for help in cashing a Fantasy 5 Lotto ticket. The suspects’ car was described as a gray 2016 Kia Sportage, license 7MIP728, police said.

The second suspect would be nearby, posing as a stranger and offering to help, in a bid to convince the victim about the legitimacy of the driver. When the victim got into the car, the driver would make a phone call on speaker to a third suspect, who is impersonating a representative of the Lotto Commission.

The Lotto representative would inform the driver that anyone who is assisting should bring good faith money or jewlery. When the victim presented the money or jewelry, the driver would place it in an envelope and have a duplicate envelope ready.

The suspects in the vehicle then would use a ruse to get the victim out of the car, give them the duplicate envelope and drive off.

Police said the suspects have been linked to scams in South Los Angeles, San Gabriel, the San Fernando Valley, and possibly Oxnard and Santa Barbara.

Detectives from the department’s Commercial Crimes Division asked anyone who may have been victims or know of any victims to call them at (213) 486- 6940.

—City News Service

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