San Diego County Crime Stoppers along with investigators from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department’s Financial/Elder Abuse Unit are asking for the public’s help in identifying and locating two unknown suspects who have defrauded local residents.
Throughout March 2019, elderly Hispanic women shopping at local grocery stores were approached by an unknown female. The unknown female, who in one case went by the name of “Francisca,” starts a conversation in Spanish with the victims. As the conversation continues, the unknown female tells the victims she has a friend with a winning lottery ticket. Since the friend is not a U.S. Citizen, the friend could not claim the money.
As the victims and the unknown female are engaged in conversation, an unknown male named “Jose” claims to overhear the conversation and says he knows of a way to get the lottery winnings. However, the victims first have to provide money. In return, they will be offered a portion of the lottery winnings. The victims believe the male and agree to help.
The victims are driven to different banks and their homes around San Diego County. Once they withdraw their money from the banks and give it to the suspects, they are driven to an unknown location, where they are left stranded by the suspects.
Victims have lost between $2,500 and $10,000. The suspects have targeted victims throughout San Diego County. The scam has been going on for several years, possibly starting around 2015. The same couple specifically targets elderly Hispanic women at stores or store parking lots with the similar story of needing help in collecting a winning lottery ticket. According to the victims, the suspects reportedly have accents that are not from Mexico.
Suspect #1 is described as a Hispanic female, possibly from Peru, about 40 to 65 years-old, standing about 5′ tall with a medium build, dark hair and wearing glasses.
Suspect #2 is described as a Hispanic male, about 40-years-old, standing between 5’3″ to 5’6″ with a heavy build and short black hair.
Anyone with information on the identity and/or location of the suspects is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department’s Financial Crimes/ Elder Abuse Unit at (858) 285-6111 or the Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at (888) 580-8477. Crime Stoppers is offering up to a $1,000 reward to anyone with information that leads to an arrest in this case. Visit the Crime Stoppers website at www.sdcrimestoppers.org for more information on how to send anonymous web and mobile app tips.
• Media inquiries about this case can be directed to Sheriff’s Financial Crimes/Elder Abuse Sgt. Karl Miller at (858) 285-6119 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Media inquiries about Crime Stoppers can be directed to Sheriff’s Deputy Marcial Lopez at (619) 531-1547 or via email at email@example.com or San Diego Police Officer Mark Herring at (619) 531-1500 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.