SJBP DA warns of fraudulent sweepstakes mailer

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 5, 2009


LAPLACE — The St. John District Attorney’s Office is urging the public to be on the lookout for a fraudulent sweepstakes mailer containing counterfeit checks that has recently targeted residents of the parish.

St. John District Attorney Tom Daley said his office has been forwarded information from two parish residents that have received letters claiming they had won the “Mega Millions Sweepstakes” lottery and that they are entitled to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The letter contains a check for a smaller sum, usually between $3,000 and $5,000, and instructs the recipient to cash the check and mail the money back to a Canadian company called Equity Promotions Inc.

“There is no such thing as a free sweepstakes winner,” Daley said. “The checks are completely fake and people are getting duped out of lots of money by trying to cash the checks. We want people to know that they can be charged with passing counterfeit checks.”

Daley said that banks in the area have been good at identifying fake checks but said many other local merchants who cash checks may not be able to see the warning signs.

“I’m asking that people use caution before running out to cash a check that seems too good to be true because it probably is too good to be true,” Daley said. “Contact any bank in the area to verify if the check is good.”

Daley said the scam has taken on various forms and is targeting people all over the country. He said residents could take action against the company by filing a mail fraud complaint with the post office or by bringing the letter and all of its contents to the District Attorney’s Office. Anyone who has any questions about the scam should call the District Attorney’s Office at 985-652-9757.