Police dubbed the scam "Latin Lotto." Victims were approached by people who said they had won the lottery but couldn't collect because they entered the country illegally.
Detective Marcello Raffi said Thursday the targets were asked to cash the tickets for a share of the winnings. But the suspects demanded cash or jewelry as a good faith deposit. He said some lost as much as $16,000.
Raffi said the four defendants worked with crews in Huntington Park, West Covina, Newhall and Los Angeles. Others are under investigation. If convicted they face five years in jail.