PORT RICHEY – A mother who solicited her neighbors for cash with the promise of a $500 prize was arrested Saturday and charged with leading an illegal lottery, authorities said.
Tina Marie Bell, 47, had her daughter fill mailboxes with letters asking residents to send $5 entrance fees for a chance at the winnings, according to a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report. All money was to be sent to Bell's home on Rainbow Lane.
A neighbor asked the Sheriff's Office if the lottery was a scam, and a deputy responded to Bell's home Saturday to find about 1,000 more of the letters ready for distribution. State law forbids personal lotteries.
Bell was released Saturday evening on $5,000 bail.
Times staff writer Natalie Watson contributed to this report.