B.C. gives $70,000 to California woman bilked by lottery scammers

The Canadian Press

VICTORIA - The British Columbia government has used civil forfeiture profits to return $70,000 to a 91-year-old California woman who was tricked into giving away her life savings to a lottery scam.

The Justice Ministry and the Vancouver Police Department seized a commercial building they say was the headquarters of an alleged ring of international fraudsters.

Vancouver police say California police contacted them in April 2012 about how the woman was led to believe she’d won $7.5 million and needed to wire money to a Vancouver bank to collect her prize.

Police say the woman transferred her money to a fake organization called the Australian Government Lottery but then couldn’t reach the swindlers.

The B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office has faced criticism in the province and is currently the subject of a lawsuit filed by a West Vancouver woman.

She says the office tried to seize her home before she was acquitted of human trafficking in 2013.

© The Canadian Press, 2015

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