Skip to main content
Press Release

Virginia Beach Woman Sentenced for Lottery Scheme Defrauding Elderly Victims

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

NORFOLK, Va. – A Virginia Beach woman was sentenced today to 57 months in prison for defrauding elderly victims across the United States of several hundred thousand dollars in a lottery and sweepstakes scheme.

According to court documents, Terry Lynn Miller, 62, signed a cease-and-desist order with the United States Postal Service in June 2019, in which she agreed to stop participating in fraudulent lottery and sweepstakes schemes. In those schemes, victims would be falsely told they had won millions of dollars but needed to first pay thousands of dollars in taxes and fees to receive their winnings. After signing the order, Miller immediately resumed her participation in the scheme and continued until she was arrested in May 2021. Miller would deposit the money the victims sent her into her personal bank accounts, and then convert it and funnel it to her co-conspirators. Miller also forged victim signatures on fraudulent checks and mailed locked briefcases to victims. The victims were told the briefcases contained their winnings and that they would receive the combination to the lock when they paid their taxes and fees. However, Miller had packed the briefcases with Hampton Roads newspapers and magazines. In sum, about ten victims were defrauded of over $220,000. Some victims lost their life savings.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Greg L. Torbenson, Acting Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Washington Division, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca Gantt prosecuted the case.

Combatting elder abuse and financial fraud targeted at seniors is a key priority of the Department of Justice. Elder abuse is an intentional or negligent act by any person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to an older adult. It is a term used to describe five subtypes of elder abuse: physical abuse, financial fraud, scams and exploitation, caregiver neglect and abandonment, psychological abuse, and sexual abuse. Elder abuse is a serious crime against some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, affecting at least 10 percent of older Americans every year. Together with our federal, state, local and tribal partners, the Department of Justice is steadfastly committed to combatting all forms of elder abuse and financial exploitation through enforcement actions, training and resources, research, victim services, and public awareness. This holistic and robust response demonstrates the Department’s unwavering dedication to fighting for justice for older Americans.

If you think you or someone you know might be a victim of a lottery mailing scheme, you can file a report with the United States Postal Inspection Service at Requests to transfer or accept funds from a private individual as a prerequisite to receiving winnings are indicators of a possible fraud scheme. For more information on how to identify a potential lottery scheme, visit

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:21-cr-56.

Updated May 20, 2022

Financial Fraud
Elder Justice