Man sentenced in lottery scam that took $970K from elderly Estes Park woman

Local News

Leonard Luton. (Photo credit: Federal Correction Institution in Englewood)

DENVER (KDVR) – A man convicted in a lottery scam that took nearly $1 million from an elderly Estes Park woman will spend nine years in federal prison and have to pay more than $880,000 in restitution.

Jamaican national, Leonard Luton of Brooklyn, N.Y., was sentenced Wednesday. Luton also faces three years of supervised release.

According to court documents, Luton and another Jamaican national conspired to convince an elderly victim that she had won a $2.8 million dollar lottery and a Mercedes Benz but needed to pay thousands of dollars in “fees” in order to receive her winnings.  

During the scam, the victim was instructed to mail packages of cash and cashier’s checks, in addition to six iPhones, to the addresses of Luton’s friends.

On two occasions, Luton made trips to the victim’s home in Estes Park to pick up packages of cash. During the first trip in October 2018, one of Luton’s co-conspirators went to the victim’s door at 1:30 a.m., identified himself as an FBI agent, showed her a fake FBI badge, and directed her to hand over a package containing $65,000 in cash.

On the second trip in January 2019, Luton was arrested at the victim’s residence when he arrived to pick up more cash. Upon his arrest, Luton was in possession of one of the iPhones purchased by the victim. In total, the victim was scammed out of more than $970,000.

“Lottery scams are just one way that fraudsters prey on the elderly and vulnerable victims,” said Acting U. S. Attorney Matt Kirsch in a media statement. “Together with our law enforcement partners, we are working to protect the elderly and to make scammers like Luton face justice.”

Luton was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Christine M. Arguello, after being convicted on Feb. 13, 2020, of one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and eight counts of aiding and abetting mail fraud. The court also entered an order of forfeiture in the amount of $484,123.16 and imposed a $900 special assessment fee.

“This sentence is a significant step toward justice for the elderly victim of Mr. Luton’s self-serving greed and deception. The FBI is committed to combating those who prey on vulnerable members of our community,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider in a media statement. “The FBI extends its appreciation to the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Estes Park Police Department, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their collaboration on this investigation.”

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