Lottery scammer swindles bank out of £10m by posing as jackpot winner

A fake lottery winner who swindled nearly £10 million from a bank has been jailed.

Brazil's Federal Court sentenced Marcio Xavier de Lima and five others for cheating the Caixa Economica bank, which operates the country's largest lottery retailer network, out of BRL 73,094,415.90 (£9,787,342).

De Lima passed himself off as a winner of the 'Lotofacil' lottery and managed to take the money from a branch of the government-controlled financial institution in the Brazilian municipality of Tocantinopolis in December 2013.

He did so with the connivance of branch manager Robson Pereira do Nascimento, and four other people helped them to launder and hide the money.

They have been named as Alberto Nunes Tugeiro Filho, Antonio Rodrigues Filho, Ernesto Vieira de Carvalho Neto and Talles Henrique de Freitas Cardoso.

The men were fined and sentenced to between five and 13 years in prison.

Robson Pereira do Nascimento's defence has already expressed its intention to appeal the decision.

A seventh man accused of fraud, Paulo Andre Pinto Tugeiro, was acquitted due to lack of evidence.

Brazil's Federal Public Ministry, the 'default' branch of the Public Prosecutor's Office, said it will also appeal the decision to request longer sentences for the guilty men and to review the decision to acquit Tugeiro.

The sentencing was the result of a lengthy police operation dubbed Operation Eskhara.

Investigators found that the elaborate scam, which was the biggest in Caixa Economica's history at the time, was meticulously prepared over three months.

The group submitted a false Wealth Income Declaration (DAPLoto) to the bank, as required when collecting lottery payouts.

Lima then went to the branch and was personally attended by Nascimento, even though he was on leave.

He accessed the bank's systems and took the envelope with the fake DAPLoto. He then opened an account under a false name for Lima and made the transfer.

Fifteen subsequent operations involving nine further accounts were then carried out to try to disguise the source of the money.

The perpetrators then made "dozens" of smaller transfers, bought seven kilometre-zero vehicles and even a plane.

The amount taken was double the municipality's budget of that year, leaving local residents disgruntled.

It was reported in 2014 that the police managed to recover 70% of the stolen funds.

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