Ocala woman, 80, loses $200K in sweepstakes scam

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OCALA, Fla. - An 80-year-old Ocala woman lost more than $200,000 in a sweepstake scam.

The Ocala Star-Banner reports the woman began receiving phone calls in 2012 telling her she had won thousands in a sweepstakes. But, the callers told her she had to pay taxes on the earnings before she could collect the prize.

The woman, who requested that her name not be used, says she's received nothing in return.

Marion County Sheriff's Det. T. J. Watts noted in a report that the woman sent an $88,000 check to Honduras, $20,000 to Panama City and varying amounts to individuals in Jamaica -- all through Moneygram and Western Union.

Authorities say criminals prey on senior citizens. The woman says her children were upset with her that she fell victim to the scam.

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