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Authorities searching for lottery ticket con artists

Sketches of suspects have been released

POSTED: October 25, 2008 5:00 a.m.
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A police sketch of one of the lottery ticket scam suspects.

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Authorities have released sketches of two suspects who are believed to be con artists after another man fell victim to their scam late last week.

Hector Cruz-Dominguez said a man and a woman driving a green Ford Mustang took $2,200 from him in a crime that bears a strong resemblance to a July 23 theft that police announced last week.

Cruz-Dominguez told police that a man and a woman approached him in the parking lot of Lowe’s on Skelton Road Oct. 16. The couple told Cruz-Dominguez they had a winning lottery ticket, but needed help cashing it because they were illegal immigrants, according to a news release from Gainesville Police Lt. Brian Kelly.

The suspects promised Cruz-Dominguez a share of the winnings if he would help them cash the ticket and cover the "fees" levied for the lottery winnings.

The male suspect called another male, who identified the ticket in the suspects’ possession as a winning lottery ticket, and Cruz-Dominguez agreed to help, according to the news release.

Cruz-Dominguez and the suspects then drove to Walgreens where the female suspect reportedly feigned an illness and told Cruz-Dominguez she needed him to go in the store to get her some medication. Once Cruz-Dominguez exited the vehicle — a green Ford Mustang — the two suspects drove off with his money, according to Kelly.

Another man fell victim to a similar scheme, reportedly losing $13,000, on July 23.

In that case, Kelly said the theft victim was approached by two men and a woman in the parking lot of J&J Foods on Jesse Jewell Parkway. The trio also said they had a winning lottery ticket but needed the man’s help cashing it because they were illegal immigrants.

The July 23 con artists also made a phone call while the victim watched and had the person on the other end of the line pose as a Georgia Lottery official, Kelly said.

They, too, convinced the man that he needed to withdraw money to cover "fees" that would be levied for the lottery winnings.

The man withdrew $13,000 from his bank.

The three con artists managed to switch the victim’s bag of money with a bag of shredded paper and left with the cash.

Anyone with information on the suspects or anyone who may have been a victim of these suspects is asked to contact Gainesville police at 770-534-5254.



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