Cops: Chef from Avon steals $50K, loses it in scam
Eagle County Correspondent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
AVON, Colorado ” An executive chef stole $50,000 from his employer only to lose it in a foreign lottery scam in which he hoped to win $1.5 million, Detective Paul Arnold of the Avon Police Department said.
Thomas Jefferson Newsted, 33, of Avon, was arrested after he stole $35,000 March 4
and another $15,000 six days later from Zacca Za, Arnold said.
Newsted said he got an e-mail offering him six lottery tickets for $20 for a European
lottery, Arnold said.
Newsted bought the tickets and later got an e-mail from a man in South Africa saying
he had won $1.5 million in the lottery, but had to wire $60,000 in fees and taxes to get
the $1.5 million.
Newsted and his family put up the other $10,000, Arnold said.
The owners of Zacca Za noticed the missing $50,000, which Newsted had wired to
South Africa, and reported the theft Wednesday, Arnold said. Newsted was being
taken to Eagle County jail Thursday afternoon, Arnold said.
“These (e-mails) go to lots and lots of people,” Arnold said about the foreign lottery
scams. “But he was gullible enough to believe he was actually getting into something
good. I would hope most people just delete them.”
Newsted said he planned to tell someone about it, Arnold said.
Police cannot not get back the money because South Africa and most other foreign
governments do not help with fraud investigations, Arnold said.
“Once it gets out of the country, unless it’s murder, most people are not going to bat
an eye,” Arnold said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation only will investigate fraud where people lose
$150,000 or more, Arnold said.
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