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California Channel snared in fake lottery scheme

Apr 28, 2006, 7:54 am

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The California Channel, which broadcasts Legislative meetings on cable TV, on Wednesday became the second local entity to reveal that it is the victim of the British International Lottery scam.

People have received letters telling them they won $95,000 - and that to receive their winnings, they must first cash an enclosed check for $2,998 that appears to be from the California Channel.

The check, according to the letters, will cover a "tax and clearance" fee that must be wired to a Canadian contact who disburses the winnings.

"My goal is to get this posted on the Internet, so people will know that this is a scam," said John Han , president of the nonprofit, California Channel.

Banks and check-cashing entities from coast to coast, where the California Channel checks have been presented, are phoning to ask if the checks are real, he said.

"I tell them the checks are phony," Han said, adding he's also received phone calls from individuals who "think they hit the jackpot."

Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region was the first local firm to announce it had been hit by the scam.

Bogus checks with the Sutter Health logo have been sent nationwide to "winners" of the British International Lottery, which is also known as United British Lotto, Sutter officials said.

How many of the phony checks have been cashed is unknown, but people who cash them are later held liable.

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