An investigation launched in April 2016 has resulted in the arrest of a South Carolina woman who obtained over $85,000 from an elderly Delta resident.
The Delta resident was told she had won several million dollars in a lottery, but would need to send money to cover taxes and other expenses before claiming her prize. Over a period of several months the Delta resident sent $85,400 to an individual located in South Carolina.
Sheriff's investigators were able to identify the person in South Carolina allegedly receiving the checks. Based upon their extensive investigation, an arrest warrant was obtained and on June 20, Patricia Millidge, age 66, was extradited.
She is charged with criminal impersonation, a class 6 felony, and theft from an at-risk adult, a class 3 felony.
"In the majority of lottery scam cases such as this, the thieves avoid prosecution as they are working from another country or routing funds through means which are impossible to track," said Delta County Undersheriff Mark Taylor.
"Generally speaking, it's very difficult to trace these scam phone calls," agreed Sheriff Fred McKee. "So I'm very thankful for the investigative work the sheriff's office did to get this woman charged and brought back so the district attorney can pursue prosecution."
Millidge was released from jail after posting $500 bond.
The Delta County Sheriff's Office reminds everyone that there are many forms of scams being used to target the elderly via phone, mail and electronic communication. Scammers are very good at what they do and lure thousands of people a year out of millions of dollars. Please talk to family members and friends and never send money to anyone you don't know. You never have to pay money to claim a lottery prize. Individuals requesting payment via gift cards or re-loadable money cards are scam artists trying to cash in.
The sheriff's office also frequently receives complaints about citizens being contacted by scammers pretending to be the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) demanding money or other personal information. To learn more about IRS scams, please visit https://www.irs.gov/uac/tax-scams-consumer-alerts.
For a list of the most prevalent scams in 2017, go to http://www.consumerfraudreporting.org.
Two fatal accidents occurred in Delta County within a two-day span last week.
Casey Gillenwater, 25, of Delta was killed the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 13, in a single-vehicle rollover on Highway 133 outside of Hotchkiss.