Clovis police investigating lottery scam

David Irvin

Police are investigating a lottery ticket scam that took one Clovis man for $8,000 earlier this month.

A suspect approached Jose Navarro, 63, on Oct. 7 at Clovis’ Wal-Mart claiming to have a winning lottery ticket worth $5 million, but that he could not cash it without a large sum of money. With the aid of accomplises, he was able to extract $8,000 from Navarro and dissapear with the cash.

“I’m angry (at) myself,” Navarro said. “What can I do? It’s too late now (to be angry).”

Clovis detective Tony Bosque said the case is strikingly similar to another fraud from a year ago in which a man was scammed out of $40,000 when a man claimed to have a $5 million ticket.

Navarro said he had not seen the men before, but that they were good at their routine, playing it perfectly on him.

Navarro said after he was approached by the first suspect, another well-dressed suspect walked up. Throughout the scam, the suspects acted as if they had not met each other before, Navarro said.

The first suspect told the other he could not redeem the ticket without the help of the other men, being without immigration papers.

He called a faux lottery comission, then handed the phone to the victim so he could verify the numbers, which he did. A female suspect on the other end said all the numbers were right.

The woman said the ticket could be redeemed for the winnings if two people would represent the supposed immigrant by showing documents and money at Portales City Hall. She said the more money shown, the more they would get back.

Navarro said the money was to be shown as proof that the two representing the immigrant were not going to steal the winnings. The female suspect promised around $5,000 in return for his participation.

One suspect said he had $10,000 to show. Navarro told the men he could go to his bank and withdraw money from his credit card.

He drove the suspects to a bank, according to a police report.

The second suspect entered the bank and came out shortly with a wad of cash. Navarro said the stack of bills were wrapped up and he could only see the outside bill, which was a $100 bill. He placed the money in a bag.

Navarro then entered the bank with the second suspect and withdrew $8,000, which he then placed in the bag with the other man’s money.

The three men got back in the victim’s car, at which point the ticket holder said he needed to use the bathroom, so Navarro dropped him at a restaurant and went with the second suspect to get documents for the deal.

Both suspects then disappeared.

Navarro said the bag with the money was somehow switched. The bag in Navarro’s car was full of paper, he said.