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Mail scams reported to police

Thursday, January 10, 2008

THAYER -- Thayer Police Chief Frank Bernard reminds area residents that this is the time of year when scam artists of all types try to rip people off.

A local man, who asked not to be identified, notified the Thayer Police Department Dec. 24 that he had received a letter by mail telling him he was the winner of the North American Sweepstakes Lottery.

"He knew immediately it was a scam and brought the letter and the check that was sent to him in the mail to our attention," Bernard said.

The letter was dated Dec. 11 and was from New Brunswick, Canada.

The letter said the local man's name was listed as one of the North American Sweepstakes prize winners in the first category.

The letter reads, "This is not our usual everyday lottery where you have to purchase a ticket to play. Rather, this is our first trial on our new version of lottery in which participants are selected from the USA workforce/business community in the low and average income earners. A total number of 560,000 names were featured in this edition of the lottery, and we recorded about six winners each for the amount of USD $79,000. We have enclosed a check from our sponsor for the amount of USD $1,950 to enable you to pay the non-resident Canadian tax of USD $1,400," he said.

Bernard said the check was of very good quality and looked authentic.

The check was from Leedways Investment Group in Georgia. The company does not exist.

"What happens is the person deposits or cashes the check and sends the company the Canadian tax of $1,400 to be able to receive their lottery winnings," the police chief said.

The letter went on to say that the local man's file had been forwarded to North American Sweepstakes attorney/disbursement agent, Frank LeRoy. It listed a telephone number to call LeRoy. When the number is called a recording is reached that says the call did not go through as dialed.

The letter ends by saying a bank draft or certified check would be overnighted to the winner as soon as the Canadian tax was paid in full. The letter was signed by Clara Fond, customer service manager.

"The lottery, the investment group, the check, is all a scam," Bernard said. "People need to be very careful. Cashing checks such as this is a felony."

Bernard said if anyone in the area should receive this type of letter or check, they need to notify the local police or the Oregon County Sheriff's Office.

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