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Published May 28, 2013, 11:12 AM

Top North Dakota prosecutors warn of telephone lottery scams

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's top two prosecutors say telephone lottery scams have reached epidemic proportions in the region.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's top two prosecutors say telephone lottery scams have reached epidemic proportions in the region.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon said in a joint news conference Tuesday that the schemes often target the elderly and other vulnerable citizens.

Callers are told in a typical scenario that they have won an international lottery with a cash prize of $2.5 million and a new Mercedes.

Stenehjem says he himself received a similar call and the scammer persisted even after he identified himself as attorney general.

Fifteen people were charged recently in federal court for a Jamaican-based scam that targeted victims in the Dakotas.

Purdon says the fact that it was the first combined news conference for the two men "underscores the importance" of the issue.

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