Wanted lottery scam suspect captured; other charges added
A lottery scam suspect wanted by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office after a warrant was issued for her arrest was captured on Wednesday.
Luz Perez was arrested by the North Miami Police Department with the assistance of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents after receiving information from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office concerning her whereabouts.
Friday, Sheriff’s officials reported Perez would be charged with additional counts of scheming to defraud and grand theft in relation to a March 18, 2013 case when she is accused of approaching a Hispanic female at a Clermont Publix and telling the victim she had a $4 million dollar lottery ticket but needed $20,000 assistance with cashing it. Perez and the victim drove to Chase Bank in Kissimmee, where the victim withdrew $5,000, then they drove to a Kissimmee Publix where the victim called her husband; Perez left with the victim’s money while the victim was on the phone.
Perez is linked to a nationwide lottery scam operation. She was arrested on a violation of probation warrant for a previous exploitation of the elderly or disabled charge. Perez will be extradited to Osceola County.
In the scam, a female suspect would act alone or with one or two other suspects and target elderly Hispanic female victims by approaching them and asking for assistance. They would tell the victim they had won a large lottery prize but would be unable to collect it because they were in the United States illegally. They would convince the victim to withdraw cash from a bank or provide jewelry as collateral to the suspect until the ticket was cashed. A second suspect would call the “lottery office” to verify the ticket. After the victim provided the cash, the suspects would leave.
Perez was identified as a suspect committing the crime with other individuals in Texas, California and Florida counties including Osceola, Orange, Indian River, Miami Dade and Volusia. Perez has additional warrants with full extradition in Florida out of Volusia County and Santa Clara County, California. She had been able to elude authorities by using numerous alias names until Osceola County Sheriff’s detectives obtained information on her whereabouts in Miami.