BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Detectives are searching for the victims of fraudsters who use the names of sweepstakes companies to scam victims with offers that sound too good to be true, the Broward Sheriff’s Office announced on Friday.
Deputies arrested Donte Johnson, 25, of Plantation, on Wednesday after accusing him of stealing about $300,000 from 18 seniors. A victim from Sarasota County lost about $63,000 in the scam, deputies said.
Deputies from Sarasota and Broward counties and members of the Plantation Police Department’s Special Weapons And Tactics team conducted a search warrant at his home on Wednesday.
They confiscated more than $17,000 in cash, ammunition, four firearms, and one stolen firearm out of Georgia. They also seized paperwork and electronic devices.
Detectives believe Johnson targeted his victims with a Publishers Clearing House scam that promised the purported winners a grand prize payoff if they first paid the taxes on their winnings. Detectives said he opened several fraudulent bank accounts to receive the funds.
Johnson is facing charges of criminal use of personal information, bank fraud, and grand theft of a firearm.
Sgt. Donald Prichard is asking anyone who believes they were a victim of this scam to call BSO’s Organized Crime Unit detectives at 954-888-1581.