Latin Lotto Scam: The Truth Report

Over the past few years, more than $3 million has been lost in a scam primarily run by Central and South American con artists using bogus or altered Texas Lottery tickets.

There's almost always a sad story, there's almost always a pressing reason, and there's almost always some sort of "verification" over the phone.

Here's the real scoop: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don't be a victim - when you hear one of these stories, get away, call the police, and give them a description. Help stop these scammers - before they rob again.

How It Works

Don't be a victim. Too many Texans have been scammed out of more than $3 million in the past few years. How does the con work, and what do you need to know to avoid it?

Read more below or download the flyers in English and Spanish.

The Most Common Tricks - and The Truth

The Scam

The Truth

"This is a winning ticket, but I need money to claim it. If you help me with the upfront money, I'll share the jackpot with you."

Once the ticket is bought, no money is EVER required to claim a prize.

"I can't cash in my winning Lottery ticket because I'm not a U.S. citizen."

You don't have to be a U.S. citizen to claim a lottery prize.

"Let's call the Lottery. They'll tell us this is a winning ticket."

We NEVER confirm that a ticket is a winner over the phone. The person on the phone is just a part of the scam.

"We need to hurry! I need to get back to my family - it's an emergency!"

The thieves are trying to rush you so you don't have time to think or call a family member or friend for advice or help.

Who Runs the Scam?

Information the Texas Lottery Commission has gathered from numerous law enforcement agencies in Texas, Florida and California, indicates that the same group of people may be running the Latin Lotto scam.

A recent Texas case demonstrates this and shows how you can help!

In November 2003, these two suspects were arrested by the Sugar Land police, and their pictures were broadcast on several Houston TV stations and posted on our Web site. (Note: Names may be aliases.)

Juan Teodord Branger and Gloria A. Ameta
 

Juan Teodord Branger
Hispanic male
Height: 5'3"
Weight: 180 lbs.
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Brown
Date of Birth: 09-11-58

 

Gloria A. Ameta
Hispanic female
Height: 5' 05"
Weight: 130 lbs.
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Brown
Date of Birth: 05-10-52

Another victim from the Harris County area saw these photos on TV, and contacted the Harris County Sheriff's office to say one of the suspects pictured was the same person who had scammed her out of $9,000 in September. There had not been any leads in her case, so this information was very helpful to the detective working her case.

However, the suspects had already been issued citations in the Sugar Land case and had been released.

Law enforcement believes the suspects may still be in Texas, and may be continuing to victimize people by offering to give them a share of what they say is a "winning" lottery ticket in exchange for money. When the victim hands over the cash, the con artists take off with the money.

If you have any information about these suspects, or if you have been a victim of this crime yourself, give us a call at 1-800-37LOTTO and ask for Lottery Security.


Four suspects from Central America were apprehended in Pearland, Texas, after approaching a 70-year-old victim. The suspects told local police there were groups just like theirs working all over the Houston area and in every major metropolitan city in Texas.


 

The four suspects accused of trying to scam an elderly Hispanic woman out of $10,000 in exchange for what they claimed was a winning ticket of $100,000.




In 2002, Clodoveo Martinez was arrested and charged with theft in San Antonio. His intended victim, a 74-year-old man, was able to wrestle back his money, escape and call the police.

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