Calgary, AB,

Woman charged with money laundering and fraud - Lottery scam

The Calgary Police Service has charged a woman in connection with the significant defrauding of an Alberta woman.

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, an Edmonton-area woman was contacted by a man over the phone and scammed into believing she’d won $1 million. The suspect convinced the victim in order to receive her winnings she needed to transfer nearly $45,000 to an unknown account. The victim transferred the money into the account over several days.

Fortunately, the bank’s managers became suspicious of the transactions and contacted CPS to report the activity. When the suspect came into a Calgary bank to make another withdrawal, District 5 officers were contacted and arrived at the bank and made an arrest.

Claudine Ratidzo MBOFANA, 19, of Calgary, is charged with theft over $5,000 and money laundering.

Investigators with the Economic Crimes Unit continue to search for the male involved in the initial calls to the victim.

According to the Western Canada Lottery Corporation, here are some tips to help you identify lottery scams.

It's a scam if...

  • You are informed that you've won a lottery prize from another country or province, even though you haven’t purchased a ticket. No legitimate lottery operates in this way.
  • You are asked to pay taxes or fees to claim a prize.
    • Do not, under any circumstances, send money or personal or financial information to someone making such a request of you.
    • Lottery prizes in Canada are not taxable, and no taxes or fees of any kind have to be paid to Canadian authorities on legitimate lottery winnings in Canada.
  • You are provided with a cheque from a third-party organization to assist with paying taxes or fees.
    • No payment or fees are required to claim lottery prizes in Canada.
    • Do not cash such cheques as they are likely forgeries and will bounce. If you choose to attempt to cash the cheque, exercise extreme caution and confirm with your bank that there will be no financial or legal repercussions or costs if it doesn't clear.
  • You are instructed to not tell anyone about your "win" or else you will be unable to claim your prize.
    • If you had won a real lottery prize, sharing the news about your win with family, friends and others would not disqualify you from being entitled to a prize.

Anyone who has lost money to a similar scam is encouraged to call police at 403-266-1234.