July 01, 2013

Four Charged in “Latin Lotto” Scam Targeting Elderly

Three men and a woman accused of targeting four elderly victims through a financial scam dubbed the “Latin Lotto” are expected to appear in court today, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Ginna Lizeth Diaz, 25 (dob 1/28/88), and John Anderson Damian, 23 (dob 10/6/89), are due to be arraigned at 8:30 a.m. in the Foltz Criminal Justice Center, Department 30.

Leandro Alvarez Aguilar, 38 (dob 7/14/74), and Luis Ezekiel Fandino, 60 (dob 2/4/53), also charged in case BA412183, pleaded not guilty on June 7.

The four defendants are each charged with one count of grand theft of personal property and three counts of attempted grand theft of personal property. The alleged crimes occurred between May 31 and June 5, 2013, in Huntington Park, West Covina, Newhall and Los Angeles.

This type of theft generally involves convincing the victim that one of the scammers has a winning lottery ticket but cannot collect the prize because of his or her immigration status.

The victim is recruited to redeem the winnings but must present thousands of dollars in cash, jewelry or both as a “good faith” deposit to ensure that the victim does not flee with the prize. Once the scammers have the loot in hand, they devise a ruse to evade the victim and flee with the property.

Prosecutors recommended that bail be set at $80,000 for Diaz and Damian. If convicted as charged, the four defendants face a maximum sentence of five years in county jail.

Deputy District Attorney Kaarin Axelsen filed the case June 7. The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office / June 27, 2013

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