Three charged in lottery scam, accused of stealing $1,800 from elderly woman in Long Beach

Three people were charged Monday 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, 68, Luisa Camargo, 38, and Tito Lozada, 49, were all charged with one felony count each of grand theft from an elder and grand theft of more than $950.

All three are scheduled to be arraigned on Monday afternoon.

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. 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 trio is 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 saw the suspicious activity arrested the three suspects later that day. They 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.