Seniors left penniless after lottery scam


DETROIT, Mich. – The next time someone tells you you've won millions but you have to pay a huge fee to claim the money, hang up the phone.  US Postal Inspectors warn too many seniors are falling for a scam that is leaving them penniless.

"The winnings would run anything from $1.5 million to $11 and $12 million," said victim Leroy Thurston.

Thurston, like a lot of people, was lured in by con-artists claiming he had won a foreign lottery. 

"They are real sweet and promise you everything and the next thing you know, they tell you to pay this fee and that fee," he said "It didn't seem like a lot sometimes, sometimes it was a couple hundred dollars. Sometimes it was a lot more. "

And more and more until finally victims have no money left.

"A lot of these seniors targeted live alone and these guys are really good at befriend them, calling them often, telling them nice things and pay them a lot of attention," explained US Postal Inspector Rodney Bohanon.

Thurston lost thousands in the four foreign lotteries he got involved in.

"It's very disheartening to see a senior who is living on a fixed income and worked their whole life for their savings and to turn around and just lose it," said Bohanon.

"If I had anything to do with it, they would all be in jail, that's the way I feel about it," said Thurston.  "Just plain greed, that is all there is to it."

Inspectors remind everyone to never pay a fee to receive money you supposedly won.  That is a sure sign of a scam.