Woman's 'winnings' turn out to be bogus

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Thursday, December 27, 2007
— It was cruel, Kelly Wilson said through tears of frustration.

Wilson, of 208 N. Main St., Janesville, got a check in the mail Wednesday for $3,325. It wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on.

“I’m really mad,” Wilson said. “It’s not funny. I want to know why the hell someone would do this to someone, especially since I’m on disability.”

A letter came with the check congratulating Wilson for being randomly selected to win $48,750. The letter was signed by Springs and Associates Financial Group with post office boxes in Tulsa, Okla., and Easton, Md.

The letter instructed Wilson to call Richard Wentworth, the company’s North American agent, to receive her prize by Friday. The check was to cover the processing costs of claiming the prize, the letter stated.

Wilson’s name was randomly chosen, according to the letter, from a computer ballot of names taken from Reader’s Digest prizes, sweepstakes contests and Internet games.

The letter included a claim number that Wilson was to keep confidential and use in all correspondence with Springs and Associates.

The 800 number on the letter was not in service. A Janesville Gazette reporter searched the Internet and found the phone number on www.ripoffreport.com, a Web site that catalogs letters awarding fraudulent prizes.

According to the site, the same 800 number was used in a July letter sent out under the name of Pearson Financial Group Management & Payment. It promised a trip to the Bahamas with a $3,000 check to cover processing fees.

Another local phone number on Wilson’s letter led to Wentworth’s voicemail. The Gazette was unable to reach Wentworth.

Another Internet search showed the phone number as a wireless phone hosted by a company in Montreal, Quebec.

The check sent to Wilson carried the name Northwest Bank of Kalkaska, Mich. When Wilson called, a bank spokeswoman said the check was fraudulent.

The Gazette was unable to reach Northwest Bank for comment.

A Janesville police officer told Wilson to destroy the check, she said.

Last updated: 10:15 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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