L.A. Man Arrested, Accused of Targeting ‘Elderly Woman’ in Fillmore With Lottery Scam

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A Los Angeles man was arrested on suspicion of trying to scam a woman in Fillmore after she told deputies two other people asked her for money to cash a supposedly winning lottery ticket, authorities said Monday.

Nelson Davila Cruz, 63, appears in a booking photo released by the Ventura County Sheriff's Office on Oct. 14, 2019.
Nelson Davila Cruz, 63, appears in a booking photo released by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 14, 2019.

The victim, who authorities described as an elderly woman, came in to the Bank of the Sierra in Fillmore on Oct. 10 around 2:40 p.m. to withdraw “a large sum of money from her account,” according to a news release from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities did not say how much cash was being withdrawn but Nelson Davila Cruz appeared to have “an unusual interest” in the woman and her transaction, sheriff’s officials wrote in the release.

Bank employees contacted authorities and Cruz was found “scurrying out of the bank” when deputies arrived, sheriff’s officials wrote. The woman then told enforcement another man and a woman had asked her for help cashing a winning lottery ticket.

“They convinced the elderly female to obtain ‘good faith’ money from her account that was needed to cash the winning ticket,” sheriff’s officials wrote.

To further persuade the victim into giving them cash, the pair also handed her a cellphone with a man on the other line pretending to be a lawyer and corroborating the suspects’ story about a fake lottery ticket, authorities said.

Investigators believe the man and woman were working with Cruz to scam the victim.

Cruz was arrested and booked on suspicion of obtaining money, labor or property by false pretenses, conspiracy to commit a crime and elder/dependent adult abuse, according to authorities. Sheriff’s officials have not identified the other two suspects or given any other details about their involvement or potential to face prosecution.

Authorities said Cruz also has an out-of-county arrest warrant in connection with grand theft by embezzlement and was named a suspect in an alleged Long Beach lottery scam.

According to Ventura County authorities, such schemes targeting older victims usually feature suspects saying they cannot cash in a lottery ticket and get the winnings due to their nationality.

Anyone with information can call Ventura County Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 and a reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for tips leading to an arrest and conviction or other resolution to the case.

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