Three Accused in Multi-County Lottery Scam
Charges against the three account for a total of 12 cases spread over three counties, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY – Deputies arrested two people and issued an arrest warrant for a third in connection with an organized fraud scheme that targeted mostly elderly Hispanics in an attempt to con them out of money and valuables, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.
The arrests and the warrant were the culmination of a three-month long investigation. Hillsborough deputies said the trio defrauded their victims to the tune of more than $152,034 in cash and $34,400 in jewelry in 12 separate cases between Hillsborough, Polk and Lake counties. Because of the multiple jurisdictions, the Florida Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution assumed responsibility for the prosecution of the case.
The Hillsborough cases encompass a total of 48 charges against the three suspects.
Jhon Figueroa, 42, of Orlando, was charged with six counts of theft from a person 65 years of age or older; four counts of grand theft second degree; four counts of exploitation of an elderly person; two counts exploitation of a disabled adult; two counts of RICO violation; two counts of grand theft third degree; and one count each of organized fraud over $50,000 and false imprisonment.
Siomara Jimenez, 52, of Kissimmee, was charged with three counts of theft from person 65 years of age or older; two counts of grand theft second degree; three counts exploitation of an elderly person; two counts of RICO violation; and one count each of organized fraud over $50,000, grand theft third degree, and false imprisonment.
An arrest warrant was issues for Marino Jimenez Quintana, 48, of Kissimmee. The warrant includes 13 charges: three counts of theft from person 65 years of age or older; three counts of crimes against persons/exploitation of elderly; two counts of RICO violation; three counts of grand theft; and one count each of scheme to defraud and property valued at more than $50,000 and false imprisonment.
“Preying on the compassion of others is the worst kind of fraud,” Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister said. “These criminals pretend to be your friendly next-door neighbor and all the while they are stealing from those who want to help others. With the charges the attorney general is filing, I am hopeful they will pay a heavy price.”
During September, deputies said, Figueroa, Jimenez and Quintana began surveying parking lots targeting elderly Hispanic victims to defraud.
They would convince their target that they had a winning Lotto ticket that could not be cashed because they were in the country illegally. The suspects would place a telephone call in front of their target to someone pretending to be with the Florida Lottery so the target could hear the fraudulent instructions on how to redeem their prize.
The person on the other end of the line would instruct them that the only way to redeem their money was to prove they had cash on hand as a form of collateral. The suspects would then convince the target to provide the collateral to help them out.
The suspects would then drive the target to their bank where the target would remove anywhere from $2,000 – $40,000 from their bank account or they would hand over jewelry and cash on hand, deputies said.
The suspects would then leave with the money or jewelry. They did not return the money or the jewelry to the senior citizen.
Photo shows, from left, Jhon Figueroa, Marino Jimenez Quintana, and Siomara Jimenez.
Hillsborough Sheriff | Crime | Lottery Scam | Arrests | Tampabay News
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