PRATTVILLE, AL (WSFA) - Melvin Cooper investigated ethics violations for years. Now, he says someone is running a phony contest, and is trying to use WSFA 12 News as part of the deal.
Cooper, the former director of the State Ethics Commission, said while watching WSFA 12 News, he received a call saying he had won $2.5 million in a random drawing, because he had "paid his bills on time." Cooper said the man told him he was calling from Las Vegas. Cooper grew even more skeptical when he was told where he could receive the cash.
"I had a choice between WSFA-TV and home, and I chose home, now why I don't know," Cooper said.
Cooper says to claim the prize he was told he needed to head to the nearest Wal-Mart and buy a $225 Western Union money order and then mail it to a Las Vegas address
"I said why don't you just take that off the $225 off the $2.5 million, I really did tell him that and he said oh, no I can't do that," Cooper said.
Cooper had one parting line before hanging up on the caller:
"He said don't you think this is wonderful, or great. I said this is the greatest scam I heard in all my life."
The number on the Coopers' caller id had an 876 area code. That's Jamaica, not Las Vegas. Attorneys general across the country have warned people to be wary of this kind of unsolicited call from that area code. WSFA 12 News called the number and spoke with a man by the name of John Green.
He said the "contest" is legit. WSFA 12 News asked why our station was a part of his phone conversation.
"What happened is, when we say this will be at the TV station, we didn't mean like that," Green said. "It would be an in-house delivery with an interview shown on the TV station, understand."
After our phone conversation with John Green, Mr. Cooper tells us Green called him back. This time he was told he could pick up the money at WSFA 12 News on Saturday Morning, but he would have to wire $225 to someone in Ft. Lauderdale as soon as possible.
Instead of sending a wire, Cooper plans to call the state attorney general's office. WSFA 12 News is not involved in this "contest" in any way. The state attorney general office said it will look into the case.
It encourages anyone who has received a call like this to call their consumer hotline: 1-800-392-5658.
WSFA 12 NEWS IS NOT ASSOCIATED WITH ANY CONTEST THAT REQUIRES YOU TO TRANSFER MONEY. YOU WILL NEVER RECEIVE PHONECALLS FROM US IN THIS MANNER.