A 'Victims of Crime Awareness Week' led to a 91-year-old getting her money back.
An unnamed California woman was tricked into sending her life savings to a lottery scam. She was led to believe she had won $7.5 million and needed to wire money to a Vancouver bank in order to collect her prize.
Another Australian Lottery fake certificate.
After the woman transferred her money to the fake 'Australian Government Lottery,' the scammers went underground and she was no longer able to contact them.
But there was a silver lining. As part of Victims of Crime Awareness Week (April 19-25, 2015) the British Columbia Civil Forfeiture Office is returning the money to her after the sale of a building owned by the fraud artists.
A flash mob of blue officially kicked off National Victims of Crime Awareness Week, April 20, 1015, in Prince George, BC. PHOTO: 250News
The scam came to light in April 2012 when the VPD’s Financial Crime Unit received an email from police in California. It outlined how the woman was led to believe she had won $7.5 million and needed to wire money to a Vancouver bank in order to collect her prize.
After the woman transferred her money to the scammers, they disappeared and she was no longer able to contact them.
Further investigation by the VPD led to the discovery that the fraudsters behind the fake lottery scheme were operating out of a commercial building located on Kingsway in Vancouver.
That building was forfeited by the CFO in 2014 on the basis that it was funded by, and used for, unlawful activity.
Scams use official-looking certificates like these to persuade their vistims the win is real.
It is not known if anyone else was victimized by the scheme, as the California woman was the only victim to come forward.
B.C. has proclaimed Victims of Crime Awareness Week each year since 2007. The goal of the week is to raise awareness about issues facing victims of crime and the services, programs and laws in place to help victims and their families.
National Victims of Crime Awareness Week marks its 10th anniversary this week April, 2015).
Since 2006, the CFO has returned more than $21 million from successful forfeiture actions to crime prevention programs and victim compensation. This includes $1.3 million specifically to victims of fraud.