Miramar couple accused of bilking 91-year-old woman in Publishers Clearing House scam

Wayne K. Roustan, South Florida Sun Sentinel

A Miramar couple is accused of stealing about $22,000 from a 91-year-old Connecticut woman saying she had to pay a fee to collect her $2.5 million in prize money from the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes.

Paul Wayne Walker, 49, and Tricia Clarke, 44, were arrested Monday and charged with exploitation of the elderly. They were released from the Broward County Jail Tuesday on $10,000 bond each, records show.

According to the arrest reports, in March 2018 the elderly woman was sent a fake letter from the Publishers Clearing House Corporation saying she had won $2.5 million but she had to pay $56,800 in fees to collect her winnings.

The woman called the phone number in the letter and was advised to pay the fees with cashier’s checks sent to four different people in Miramar, Pembroke Pines and Orlando. Walker and Clarke were two of those people living at the same Miramar address, detectives said.

The banks called the woman’s son to report a dozen suspicious cashier’s checks were written for large amounts totaling more than $22,000.

Miramar police said they obtained bank statements and surveillance video showing Walker and Clarke depositing cashier’s checks in the summer of 2018.

Attempts to reach them for comment were unsuccessful.

Wayne K. Roustan can be reached at wkroustan@sunsentinel.com or 561-379-6119 or on Twitter @WayneRoustan