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Santa Barbara Police Arrest Suspect in Lottery Scam

Santa Barbara police have arrested a suspect in a $12,000 lottery scam involving a 55-year-old woman.

Raul Gonzalo Santana, 44, was detained Monday during a traffic stop and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of grand theft and being an unlicensed driver.

The victim told police on April 6 that two people had conned her out of the money after claiming to have a winning lottery ticket. The woman said the suspects told her they couldn’t cash in the ticket because the ticket holder was not in the United States legally. They said they would compensate her if she assisted them, but only after giving them a deposit.

About 9 a.m. Monday, an officer patrolling the 900 block of East Montecito Street observed a Hispanic male adult speaking with an elderly female. The Hispanic male noticed the police car, used a nearby pay phone and was soon picked up by a vehicle driven by a second Hispanic male.

The officer pulled over the vehicle for expired registration. Lottery tickets and money were found in the vehicle.

Santana, who identified himself with a Mexican driver’s license, was arrested for being an unlicensed driver. A fingerprint check revealed he was wanted on theft charges out of New York under a different name. Santana’s passenger was interviewed during the traffic stop and released.

Police Sgt. Lorenzo Duarte, a department spokesman, said a booking photo would not be released because of the ongoing investigation.

Anyone who has been a victim of a lottery scam is asked to call the Santa Barbara Police Department Investigative Division at 805.897.2335.

Noozhawk staff writer Michelle Nelson can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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