Elderly man says lotto scheme cost him $20K

by: Mike Petchenik Updated:

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A Sandy Springs man paid more than $20,000 to a schemer posing as a lottery representative, police told Channel 2 Action News.

The 87-year-old victim told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik off camera that he received a letter in the mail informing him he'd won a substantial amount of money, but that he would have to pay money up front to receive it.

The victim, who asked not to be identified, told Petchenik he negotiated with the representative to lower the fee from $9,000 to $3,000. The man said he'd received about 15 letters in the mail, and believed some of them to still be legitimate.

"They'd give us $200,000," the man said the representative promised him.

But, police told Petchenik when the victim tried to collect his winnings, the person who contacted him initially had disappeared.

"You don't get something for nothing and if it's too good to be true, it probably is," said Sandy Springs Police Capt. Steve Rose. "Somebody comes to you with a large amount of money you've won, start asking questions, because they're not set up to answer several questions."

A spokeswoman for the Georgia Lottery Corporation sent Petchenik a statement about scams such as this one.

"The Georgia Lottery does not send out winning notifications via postal mail unless the player has entered and won a Georgia Lottery second-chance drawing or promotion," said Tandi Reddick. "The Georgia Lottery never asks for money from a player in advance of receiving a prize."