Woodlands woman loses $13,000 in lotto scam

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by Jeffery McShan / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on May 1, 2013 at 6:56 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 1 at 11:19 PM

THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- An elaborate lottery scam cost a woman from The Woodlands $13,000.

Lydia Avecedo says what happened here last week brought her to tears.

While shopping inside the Hobby Lobby located in the 500 block of Sawdust, Avecedo says a woman walked up to her and asked her in Spanish if she “knew of this location that was nearby here that she had heard that would help undocumented people.”

Avecedo says almost instantly, another customer walked up.

"It was almost like she was listening to the conversation because she said she knew the place and it was really, really close by,” said Avecedo.

Both women got into Avecedo's car and they headed to the place.

On their way, the first woman claimed to have a winning lottery ticket, but said she was afraid to turn it in for the $3 million prize because she wasn't a U.S. citizen.

"So then they said ‘let’s call the lotto to make sure it's legit,” said Avecedo.

They dialed the number on the ticket

“The gentleman on the phone was giving the numbers and it was matching up,” Avecedo said.

The man on the phone was even able to call out the red numbers on the back.

Avecedo said the man told them with two witnesses the woman could claim the prize.

“Two people could do that, but they had to prove financial status -- that they weren't trying to rip off the lady,” said Avecedo.

The man said both women needed to bring $13,000 to the lotto office. So Avecedo went to the bank.

It sounds crazy, but Avecedo says the crooks were so believable.

"They're very good, very skillful,” she said.

Their next stop was to buy stamps to mail in their W2 documents.

Avecedo says when she and one woman went to make the purchase, the other woman took the money out of her purse and ran away.

The other woman went to the bathroom never to be seen again.

"I just grabbed my head like that and I started getting sweaty and I was like ‘oh my god, they just scammed me,” said Avecedo.

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