Troopers say two more victims have been discovered after a suspect in a lottery scam that cost a Canandaigua woman $10,500 has been arrested according to the New York State Police. On April 26 Earl Alton Smith of New Jersey was arrested and charged with two counts of grand larceny in the third degree.
A New Jersey man is facing up to seven years behind bar after allegedly scamming an 84-year-old Canandaigua woman out of $10,500.
Investigators say 40-year-old Earl Smith tricked the elderly victim by telling her she won the Publishers Clearing House grand prize lottery.
New York State Police Investigator Mark Eifert said they tracked Smith with the cashed checks and further digging into his bank account revealed two more victims - one in Michigan and another in Kansas.
“It’s very unfortunate that people fall for these scams,” said Trooper Eifert.
In total, police say Smith scammed all three out of an estimated $20,000.
The silver lining, according to Ontario County District Attorney Jim Ritts, is that the law caught up with this all-too-common crime.
“This is one of the few instances we’ve been able to follow up and identify a participant and make an arrest,” said Ritts.
Law enforcement arrested Smith in Newark Airport in New Jersey, before boarding a flight that would have taken him from Jamaica.
Earl Smith was arrested and arraigned on two counts of felony grand larceny charges.
He has posted bail and is due back in court May 10.
There are a number of scams being used to target unsuspecting victims out of money. The most common include the lottery scam, the IRS scam, and the grandparent scam.
The biggest warning signs are offers that are “too good to be true,” being asked for money upfront and bad grammar.
Police remind families to always get a second opinion before sending money to anyone you don’t know.
A suspect in a lottery scam that cost a Canandaigua woman $10,500 has been arrested according to the New York State Police.
On April 26 Earl Alton Smith of New Jersey was arrested for two counts of grand larceny in the third degree.
The 40-year-old is accused of being involved in a lottery scam, whereas an 84-year-old Canandaigua woman was told she was the grand prize winner of a sweepstakes and told she needed to pay the taxes to receive the payout.
As a part of the scam the victim sent two checks totaling $10,500 to Smith.
Smith has been extradited to New York and is remanded to Ontario County Jail on $20,000 bail.
State police remind citizens to be wary of sweepstakes they did not personally enter and that if the prize sounds too good to be true, it probably is.