Two shameless charlatans managed to take $90,000 from a senior citizen in Queens by telling her she could have a piece of a winning lottery ticket.
The pigeon drop is a scam as old as time: Two confidence men (or women) pretend to be strangers to each other and loudly claim they found something very valuable, like a wallet, a bag of money, or a lottery ticket and argue over its value—and ensnare a vulnerable person into their web. Then they all promise to put down a deposit on the item, only to take the victim's cash.
According to the NYPD, the incident happened last week, on September 9th, at 2:30 p.m. in Queens: An 80-year-old woman was outside of 80-35 Jamaica Avenue when a woman she didn't know exited a Jeep Cherokee and asked her to help her cash a winning lottery ticket worth $167,000.
Then an unidentified man approached the pair and explained what the victim needed to do to help the female grifter. He also allegedly said he'd put up cash and jewelry for a cut of the lottery ticket. The Daily News reports, "The devious duo then instructed the elderly woman to fork over at least $7,000 in good faith money to ensure the older woman didn’t try to make off with the ticket she was now holding, according to law enforcement sources. The octogenarian went to her bank and got a cashier’s check for a whopping $90,000, the sources said. The two callous crooks took the elderly woman to a CFSC Checking to cash the windfall."
They drove her back to her home, asking her to produce a utility bill to prove it was her actual address. Police say, "When the victim exited her house with the paperwork, the suspects fled to parts unknown."
Police released images of the suspects—the female is described as being in her early 40s while the male was wearing a pink shirt and blue jeans—and an image of their vehicle.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.