KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — People dream of hearing the words, “You’ve won the lottery!” Unfortunately, they often come from scammers who are trying to steal your money.
That’s what happened to an elderly Knoxville woman after being told she had won the international Mega Millions jackpot. However, she was talking and corresponding with an imposter.
Saturia fell victim to one of the most expensive fraud cases WATE has reported in years. She was hoping to collect her pot of gold, however, she lost $190,000 to a scammer. Digging through her bag, Saturia showed WATE’s Don Dare receipts and pre-paid cards she has collected and sent off over the last five years. The money was sent to several different named men after being told an international lottery had her name on it.
“He told me I had won $187 million. I will have to pay the insurance. I will have to pay the fees,” said Saturia.
The amount of money she has sent over the years is staggering.
“I would say close to $190,000,” said Saturia.
Dare asked her if she had played the Mega Millions jackpot before.
“Never, I didn’t buy any tickets. I only registered. I received a card, a four-by-six card, that said ‘Would you like to become a millionaire?’ All you have to do is sign your name, pay $50 and you register, then Mega Millions,” she said.
Saturia said about once or twice a month she’d get a call that more money was needed and they convinced her into sending it.
“They say, the way they talk, it’s an international thing, it’s a big thing, it only happens every four years,” said Saturia.
Better Business Bureau President Tony Binkley shared that the amount of money listed by Saturia was the most he had ever heard of one person losing.
“They believe this stuff because these scammers are so good at what they do,” said Binkley.
Binkley said Saturia had visited his office. She’s 93, lost her husband 10 years ago, has no family and has told no one about losing the money.
“You’ve got to get a third party involved, somebody you can trust and bounce this off of and see what they say,” said Binkley.
When asked if she was going to send any more money, Saturia said she had no money left.
“I don’t have any more money. I don’t have money for gas, for food, for rent. I am completely broke,” said Saturia.
Having lost her house and car to the scammers, Saturia presently rents a room at a house and lives with friends in Knoxville. She now wants to warn others about her losses hoping no one else will fall victim.
“Nothing is true. $3,500 right here. I hope someday, somebody avoids this type of people,” said Saturia.
If you believe you are the victim of an impostor seeking money using either the Mega Millions name, or logo, or any legitimate sweepstakes, contact the National Fraud Center at www.fraud.org.