NAPLES — A chance at some easy money on Thursday morning left a 46-year-old woman ten grand in the hole.
The woman, whose name was not released by law enforcement, told Collier County sheriff’s deputies that she was scammed
out of $10,000 by two women who promised to share their winnings from a lottery ticket in exchange for her money.
“You buy into the scam and you think you’re going to get rich,” said Sgt. Dave White of the Sheriff’s Office’s
Economic Crimes Unit. “Common sense goes down the drain. If you stood back for a second and thought about it, you’d say
something is wrong here.”
The scam occurred within hours of the Sheriff’s Office warning residents about the exact same scam on its Web site.
The woman told deputies that around 11:15 a.m. she was approached outside the Wal-Mart at 3451 U.S. 41 E., by a woman who
called herself “Maria,” the Sheriff’s Office reported.
The woman said “Maria” appeared to be upset and told her she just won the lottery, but could not collect the winnings
because she is an illegal immigrant.
Another woman, who called herself “Carmen,” approached them and offered to help, reports said. The victim got into a
car with the two women.
In the car, “Maria” said she needed to come up with $15,000 to pay the lottery fee, but only had $2,000. She asked “Carmen”
and the victim if they had any money to help her get the winnings, promising to pay them back the money they loan her plus
an additional $7,000 each, the Sheriff’s Office reported.
“Carmen” offered $3,000, and the victim offered the remaining $10,000.
The two women drove the victim to her Golden Gate home to get her banking information, and then drove her to an East Naples
bank, officials said.
“She obliged,” White said. “She went and took ten grand out of her Bank of America and gave it to them, and they disappeared.
They had the lottery ticket in their hands, but they kept it. She didn’t have it to turn over.”
Once she gave the women the $10,000, the women walked to a near-by grocery store, and “Carmen” went in saying she was
going to start the paperwork, reports said. She came back out and told the victim that she needed to go in and complete some
“Carmen” gave her the name of an employee to ask for, but when she went inside that employee was busy, the Sheriff’s
Office reported. When the victim went back outside, the women were gone.
Immigration status does not prevent anyone from cashing a Florida Lottery ticket, the Sheriff’s Office reported, and any
taxes due are deducted from the winnings, the Sheriff’s Office reported.
“They don’t give you time to think or call somebody,” White said. “Once they get to hooking you, they keep going
The Sheriff’s Office described “Maria” as a brown-skinned Hispanic woman in her 30s with straight, dark hair in a ponytail.
She is around 5 foot 8 inches with a thin build and wore a gray shirt and brown pants.
“Carmen” was described as a brown-skinned Hispanic female in her 40s with curly blond hair. She is about 5 foot 6 inches,
and wore a green shirt, denim capri pants and had a visor on her head.