News Releases

September 30, 2019: Trio Charged in Lottery Scam Targeting Elderly Long Beach Woman

Paul Eakins, Public Information Officer

Three people were charged today with using a lottery scam to steal cash from a 66-year-old woman last week in Long Beach, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Mercedes Montanez (dob 5/29/51), Luisa Camargo (dob 4/21/81) and Tito Lozada (dob 2/2/70) all are charged in case BA481471 with one felony count each of grand theft from an elder and grand theft of more than $950.

Arraignment is scheduled for this afternoon in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

On Sept. 26, Montanez allegedly approached the victim on a street in Long Beach and claimed that she had a winning lottery ticket, but needed to pay $15,000 to collect the winnings, according to Deputy District Attorney Elena Abramson of the Elder Abuse Section. Montanez allegedly asked the victim to help pay the fee in return for a portion of the lottery proceeds.

To convince the woman, Camargo is accused of pretending to be another person contributing to the lottery fund. Lozada allegedly posed as a lottery official who validated the ticket.

The defendants are accused of taking the defendant to her Long Beach home and a local bank to retrieve more than $1,800 before dropping her off at a location where she was to await further instructions.

Police officers who observed the suspicious activity arrested the trio later that day.

The defendants face a possible maximum sentence of four years in state prison if convicted as charged.

The prosecutor is recommending that bail be set at $250,000 each.

The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Commercial Crimes Division, Major Theft Task Force.