86-year-old Deltona woman tries to fight lottery scammers

Woman received notice from Calif. lottery scam company


DELTONA, Fla. – An 86-year-old Deltona woman said she gambled and lost to lottery scammers in an attempt to trap the thieves posing as agents for the California Mega Millions Lottery.

Wilhelmina Schuster of Deltona, a former nurse, lives with her 91-year-old husband and 108-year-old mother.

She said in March, she received a notice from U.S. Mega Million Ltd., on 700 N 10th Street in Sacramento.

The letter says, "Dear contestant, Congratulations! The U.S. Mega Million Ltd. Is pleased to inform you that your sweepstakes entry was drawn and was selected as our first place winning of $5 million."

Schuster said her husband was intrigued because the winning ticket also included a 2012 Mercedes Benz convertible. But Schuster said she knew it was a scam but she wanted to expose the "whole gang."

Her dining room table is covered with receipts from Western Union , Money Gram, and Pay Pal money cards totaling a staggering $54,285.

"I don't mind admitting it," she said.

Schuster sent cash in various amounts to addresses in Wis., Fla., and Jamaica.

She called the number on the lotto letter and has been flooded with calls asking for additional funds to have the Mercedes and her $5 million delivered.

On Wednesday, she received three calls from people asking for more money. When she told them she knew it was a scam they hung up.

Russ Lopez, deputy director of communications for the Calif. Lottery, says his investigators are seeing an average of 10 lotto scams every week.

According to Lopez , his investigators have tracked the thieves to Jamaica and Nigeria. In each case they use names similar to Mega Millions. In this case Schuster's winnings were from the Mega Million Ltd.

Lopez said victims are told they have won a drawing but they never bought a ticket for the mega millions lottery.

"You have to play to win," he said.

The FBI is aware of these types of lottery scams but can not confirm or deny it is actively investigating the Mega Million Ltd. operation.

"If any prize or lotto organization asks for money up front it's a huge red flag and probably a scam," said special agent Jeff Westcott.

The FBI has set up a crime complaint center and a list of existing scams for those who think they may be getting scammed.