Courts & Crime

Letters in sweepstake scam flood Tacoma

When Herschel and Edna Pruitt saw the check and read the letter they received in Monday morning’s mail, they thought, for a quick moment, that they might be rich.

“We’ll fill the freezer,” thought Edna.

“Somebody sent us some money,” said Herschel.

Alas. By the time they each got to about the fourth paragraph of the letter, they figured something was very fishy.

“I knew that something’s not right,” Herschel said Wednesday in the family’s South Tacoma home.

The check, for $3,995, looked cashable. Drawn on a JPMorgan Chase branch in Michigan, it bore a nice watermark. The name on the check – Flow-Rite Control Ltd. of Byron Center, Mich. – sounded legitimate.

The cover letter, from a Canadian outfit called National Inc Consultants of Hamilton, Ontario, sounded just plausible. The Pruitts had won $125,000. Their name had been drawn at random. They were the “lucky winners in the North American Shoppers Customer Compensation and Appreciation Bonanza in the 2nd category.”

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