”I feel like if they can get her, they can get anyone. It`s just awful that they are so persistent, evil, cruel that they can take that much money from a widow,” says Lauciello.
They are con-artists in Jamaica, who convinced Michelle`s mother to send the money to get her winnings.
”She was sending $500 increments,” says Lauciello.
Michelle says the voices on the phone were very persuasive and preyed on the fact that their mother was a widow.
"It happened after my father died, and we think that is how she got caught up in this big mess because she was filling a void in her life," says Lauciello.
The family repeatedly warned their mother that this was a scam, but she continued sending money.
"They were brainwashing her basically is what they were doing,” says Lauciello.
Michelle`s family was forced to take over their mother`s finances.
"It was heart wrenching; it was aggravating that she would believe this, that she would believe that you could win money but you have to pay money. We told her over and over and never again we would keep telling her that you win something you don`t have to pay,” says Lauciello.
Foreign lottery schemes may be fleecing Americans out of as much as a billion dollars every year and it’s getting worse.
"The fraudsters are relentless even ruthless. They won`t stop until seniors have no more money to send and then they will recruit them to get money from other seniors,” says Frank Schissler, a U.S. postal inspector.
Always remember that no legitimate lottery will ask you for money up-front. Keep that in mind when you receive calls, letters in the mail and especially emphasize that message to elderly friends, family and neighbors.