Photo via Shutterstock
Photo via Shutterstock

A South Los Angeles man was arrested Tuesday on federal fraud charges for allegedly participating in a lottery scam that targeted elderly victims with promises of cash prizes and cars — as long as they paid taxes and fees.

Carl Dean Bullock, 65, was indicted by a federal grand jury Friday on 13 counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Bullock allegedly promised mostly elderly victims that they had won large lottery or sweepstakes prizes and, in order to obtain their “winnings,” would need to send money to pay for taxes, fees and other expenses.

Hoping to collect the winnings, victims sent money to members of the scheme via wire transfer, money orders and cash, prosecutors allege.

Bullock received some of the fraudulently obtained money, and then sent a portion of it to his co-schemers, most of whom were in Jamaica, the indictment alleges.

The investigation, so far, has uncovered 25 victims — one of whom was 88 years old — who sent nearly $200,000 to obtain their non-existent prizes, according to authorities.

“Foreign lottery and sweepstakes fraud cost Americans millions (of dollars) every year,” said Los Angeles Postal Inspector in Charge Robert Wemyss. “When one family member is harmed, the impact can be felt by all. Losses can be monumental, and entire fortunes, inheritances and retirement security can be wiped out.”

The wire fraud and mail fraud charges each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. The aggravated identity theft charges carry a mandatory consecutive sentence of two years in prison, prosecutors noted.

—City News Service

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *