Police: Man loses thousands in Mega Millions fraud

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

After a Mega Millions scam cost a Holly Township man mega thousands, Michigan State Police are warning the public of the dangers of fake lotteries.

The man’s troubles started in early August, when someone claiming to be with the Mega Millions Lottery called him and said he had won second-place in a recent drawing, a prize worth some $450,000, according to a statement from state police.

But first, police say the man was told, he’d need to send $920 to claim the money.

The requests for more money continued, and by the time state police were called in to investigate, the man had sent $24,000 in the hopes of claiming the $450,000.

This month, the victim sent $3,300 to a courier who claimed to be at an airport with the winning check, but held up for tax reasons, police said.

Then, on Tuesday, help seemed to arrive, in the form of a phone call from a lawyer. The lawyer told the victim that he knows he’d given a lot of money to the fake lottery and would like to represent him in the case, but that it would cost him.

At that point, a family member called Michigan State Police, the law-enforcement body for Holly Township. Police are investigating, trying to find suspects in the case.

In a statement, Lt. Mike Shaw, a spokesman for the department, said that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

“There are many scams floating around today. From the IRS or the police department having a warrant for your arrest attempting to get you to pay with a Green Dot card, to lottery winnings from a lottery you didn’t buy a ticket for,” Shaw said in the statement. “Remember if something doesn’t seem right, it isn’t. You will never have to pay money to receive lottery winnings and the police or IRS are not going to ask for a Green Dot card to be sent to a Third Party address.”