Accused of scamming Hispanic grandmothers pleads guilty in Los Angeles court

Tito Lozada and his accomplices.

Los Angeles Police / Courtesy

The Colombian immigrant Tito Lozada He pleaded guilty in federal court in Los Angeles on Monday to a charge of defrauding elderly Hispanic victims through a scam using alleged winning lottery tickets, authorities said.

Lozada, 50, had been arrested last November with Luisa Camargo, 38; Mercedes Montanez, 68, and María Luisa Henao, of 43, also Colombian.

“This was an organized group that focused on older women with the sole purpose of cheating these vulnerable victims with false promises of a great payday"Said the federal prosecutor Nick Hanna it's a statement.

According to the authorities, the scam began with one of the defendants who came before the victim crying, distraught, saying that the members of the group had a winning lottery ticket but could not charge it, among other reasons because they wereundocumented and they wouldn't give them the money.

Then another of the scammers appeared and helped the victim call a phone number to confirm that the ticket was the winner. On the other side he answered another accomplice who was posing as an employee of the Lottery and confirmed the authenticity of the winning ticket. The false employee told the victim that a cash deposit was needed to collect the prize.

That's when the group of scammers accompanied the victims to the banks and their homes to take out the money and jewelry and then run away with the loot.

Special agent Voviette Morgan of the FBI He stressed that the fraud was done in Spanish and that the four defendants have cheated at least 10 women, all of advanced age.

The Prosecutor's Office warned that scams occurred from 2017 to September 2019 in several cities in the Los Angeles metropolitan area of ​​Hispanic majority.

Related: California taxi driver prevents a 92-year-old woman from being cheated for $ 25,000

“This was an organized group directed against older women with the sole purpose of cheating these victims vulnerable, ”federal prosecutor Hanna said in a statement.

Lozada will be sentenced on May 11 and could face a maximum sentence of 20 years behind bars.

Two of the three defendants also await sentencing after pleading guilty.

"This case should serve as a reminder to potential victims and their families that no one should pay an upfront fee in relation to any prize, raffle or lottery," Hanna emphasized.


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