Nov 3, 2005, 1:18 pm
A Tucson, Arizona, woman who said she was playing a free Internet lottery game was bilked out of nearly $100,000, according to sheriff's officials.
The woman contacted the Sheriff's Department on Oct. 20 and told deputies about the lottery game called Universal Swiss Lottery, which she said she had been playing on the Internet. The game required no money to play.
In March 2004, the woman said, she was contacted and told that she had won 2 million euros, according to the Sheriff's Department, which is publicizing various scams to warn people.
The "Mr. Wilson" who contacted her by e-mail said he worked for a company called Swiss Union International in London.
The man asked for money to pay the taxes and other fees associated with money she had won from the lottery.
The victim sent the man $45,000 through Western Union. She later learned that the man no longer worked at the London company and that her account had been transferred to another person.
By August 2005, the woman told deputies, she sent the second man another $45,000.
The woman then received a phone call from a man in Nigeria saying he was handling her account and was trying to get her the lottery winnings. The victim sent this individual $1,900.
The victim was then contacted by another man who she said was a lawyer in the United Kingdom. The man asked her to send him some money to help him collect her lottery winnings.
The woman said she didn't have any money, so the man sent her mail with traveler's checks totaling $8,500.
The woman was instructed to deposit the checks at her bank and then wire the money through Western Union to three people.
The woman deposited the checks and withdrew $8,500 from her bank account.
However, the bank notified the woman's husband the traveler's checks were fraudulent before the woman sent her own money to the three individuals.