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Elderly West Seneca man scams people out of thousands in lottery ticket, postage stamp scheme

Posted: 7:42 AM, May 10, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-10 07:42:03-04
Woman finds lottery ticket worth $470K

WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WKBW) — A 71-year-old West Seneca man must now pay $1,000 in fines after prosecutors say he illegally mailed in lottery tickets for more than a decade.

Prosecutors say Jerry Hayes sent out letters trying to solicit people to join a "club" to "get rich" quick; participants were asked to mail in cash, U.S. postage stamps, and unscratched lottery tickets to at least two other participants, whose alleged names and addresses were listed in the letters. Those addresses were all post office boxes Hayes rented in Athol Springs, Blasdell, East Aurora, Hamburg, Orchard Park, West Falls and West Seneca.

The letters instructed people to provide their own names and addresses so information could be added to the top of future solicitation letters, making them "instant benefactors." They included subjects like "Christmas Club," "Stamp Club," Requested Material" or "Personal Stimulus Plan."

Hayes hand-addressed and mailed out the letters to people all over the country, with the return address of "THG Funding" at a P.O. box in East Aurora. All told, he collected about $90,713 in cash and postage stamps.