A man in Georgia was sentenced Monday for a lottery fraud scheme that victimized elderly people in California and other states, the United States Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Californiaannounced.
Adedayo Akinwunmi Agbayewa, 45, of College Park, Georgia, was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay $7,784,415 in restitution, officials said.
Agbayewa and his co-conspirators used false names and falsely notified victims by mail or telephone that they had won a sweepstake or lottery, according to court documents. They then asked the victims to pay taxes or fees before they can receive their prize. The alleged taxes and fees were sent directly to the conspirators' bank accounts. But the victims never received any prize money.
In light of the sentencing, the California State Lottery would like to remind people to avoid lottery scams.
“This is an incredibly important reminder for everyone who plays any of our California Lottery games,” said Alva V. Johnson, Director for the California State Lottery. “We want to make sure everyone knows that the California Lottery does NOT charge taxes or fees for players to claim their prize. We take these sorts of scams very seriously, and our best defense is to continue educating Californians so they can continue to play and win in a safe manner.”
California State Lottery said people should be reminded that no lottery official would personally contact a player about winning a jackpot before the player files a prize claim form.
People should also never give any of their sensitive information, including credit card numbers, social security numbers and bank account information to anyone promising lottery cash prizes.
"If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," California State Lottery wrote in a statement.