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Deputies: ‘Don’t be suckered’ by lottery check scam

Once again, fake lottery letters with cashier’s checks have arrived in Shawnee mailboxes, prompting law enforcement officers to issue warnings to area residents. The most recent mailing comes from an address in London, England, with a claim that the person is the winner of the Australia Sweepstakes lottery. The Shawnee resident who received this mailing, along with what appears to be a real cashier’s check, became suspicious and turned over the items to the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Mike Booth said the letter and $4,995 check, are a scam and residents need to be aware of such cons to avoid becoming victims.
“If it looks too good to be true, it is,” Booth said. It’s a scam, no matter how good it looks.” The letterhead shows Featureview Trust Inc., and includes the Shawnee man’s name and his address where it was mailed, and claims to be from the International Claims Department in London, England. The letter claims the resident has won $250,000 through a random computer ballot system drawn from shopper names.
The letter shows the check for $4,995 is to help pay government taxes and insurance on the winnings and claims to be a payment from a claims agent.

It asks the winner not to use the check until they call a 15-digit phone number, where police said those answering work to get personal information from the caller. The fake check, with the somewhat blurry logo of well-known U.S. bank, claims to be drafted from an account in Phoenix, Ariz. “No matter how real it looks, it’s not going to get you anything,” Booth said about that check, advising residents not to cash it or give any personal information to anyone. “From that point on, you have everything to lose,” the sheriff added. Booth said residents should be suspicious if they get anything by mail such as this, especially if they have no direct knowledge of it. “Anyone with questions can bring it to their local law enforcement office,” Booth said, adding, “Don’t be suckered.”

Shawnee police issued a similar warning back in December for mailings that included similar letters for a shoppers lottery scam.
“Don’t cash the check … do not call and give them any information,” Shawnee Police Chief Russell Frantz said. Frantz said the scam works to get someone’s bank account number, either by phone or when cashing the fake check. That enables the suspects to clean out someone’s bank account before they realize the check to pay the “fees” is a fake and has bounced. “Citizens beware,” Frantz said.

Charges filed in large meth bust

Two suspects arrested after Pottawatomie County sheriff’s deputies seized about 577 grams of methamphetamine from their vehicle have been formally charged.

Robert Lester Keitz, 26, Checotah, and Danette Lola McNeal, 44, Stigler, are charged in Pottawatomie County District Court with the felony of aggravated trafficking in illegal drugs. They are accused of acting conjointly and knowingly possessing more than one pound of methamphetamine on Aug. 19. They also are charged with the misdemeanor of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, accused of having electronic scales, baggies and a glass smoking device.
Both were arrested after they apparently got their pickup stuck along Old Highway 270 near Dale.
Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Capt. Travis Palmer said in addition to the 577 grams of finished powder, deputies also confiscated about 1.5 pounds of cut product, which would have been about 3.5 pounds of street methamphetamine when finished.
Deputies Mark Burden and Eric Fletcher worked the scene and arrived after a passerby had stopped to help the motorists pull their pickup back onto the road.
Deputies questioned the two traveling in the pickup and let the passerby leave. The male at the scene had no identification and gave deputies several different spellings of his reported name. Once deputies determined his actual name, they discovered he had an outstanding drug arrest warrant in McIntosh County, then the drugs and paraphernalia were found.
Both were booked into the Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center on $50,000 bond.
Thursday, Keitz remained jailed, but McNeal had been released after posting a $50,000 bond.
If convicted of the felony charge, aggravated trafficking is punishable by imprisonment of four years to life and a fine of $50,000 to $500,000. Keitz, who has a former felony conviction, could face eight years to life in prison, if convicted.
The next court date for the defendants hasn’t yet been scheduled.