BROOKSVILLE — Police believe a Brooksville woman thought to have been victimized by a Nigerian lottery scam has been accused of conning others out of more than $1 million in similar ventures, more than double the initial estimate.
According to the Brooksville Police Department, Doris Siegel, 78, of 6405 Roscommon Road, approached several victims from January 2008 through this month and asked for money claiming she won the lottery in Holland.
Police said they told Siegel in 2004 that she likely was a victim of a Nigerian or foreign lottery scam based on correspondence that she had received. She used that information and deception, they said in a report, to fraudulently obtain money from other people.
After her arrest Wednesday, police procured a search warrant and went to Siegel's home Friday. During the search, police discovered information that led them to more potential victims.
Included in the group of alleged victims were neighbors, friends, a church pastor and a local businessman. Two of the alleged victims are thought to have given Siegel at least $328,000 each.
Siegel was captured on surveillance tape lying to several of the victims, the report states, adding that she later admitted to detectives that she lied to the victims to obtain their money.
The lottery scams take several forms, usually asking victims to put up their own money in return for a piece of the lottery winnings.
Siegel also got money from victims after claiming to have started a Guatemalan mission that does not exist, according to the police.
Siegel was arrested on charges of organized fraud and remained at the Hernando County Jail on Friday in lieu of $50,000 bail.
Police are asking anyone who had dealings with Siegel or believes they were victimized to contact the department's Criminal Investigation Division.
Joel Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 754-6120. Follow Joel Anderson on Twitter at twitter.com/jandersontimes.