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Three charged in home lottery scam

Jan. 25, 2013 at 1:20 PM

MARSEILLE, France, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Three people in France have been charged with fraud for selling tickets for a drawing to win homes the organizers did not own.

Leonardo Simpatico, a property agent from Aix-en-Provence, was arrested this week along with his daughter and a notary in Aix-en-Provence after collecting a total $5.39 million from 40,000 people who were told they were being entered in a drawing to win one of six houses or apartments -- and that their money would be refunded if they didn't win -- The Local.fr reported Friday.

The winners soon discovered Simpatico had not completed the deals to purchase any of the homes in question.

The suspects, who were being held in Marseille, were charged with fraud, operating an illegal lottery and illegal betting.

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