Man accused of theft after telling elderly woman she won lottery, had to pay him taxes

Robert Cornell, 81, is charged with theft.

January 27, 2012 9:50:00 AM PST
A man living at a southwest Houston retirement home is accused of stealing money from an elderly woman after he reportedly convinced her that she had won a prize.

Robert Cornell, 81, is charged with theft. According to court documents, on September 29 , 2011, Cornell called a 92-year-old woman and told her she had won a lottery. But before she could collect her prize money, Cornell reportedly convinced her that she had to pay the taxes.

The woman complied, sending checks for $5,000 and $3,400 to Cornell's mailing address. Those checks were cashed at a southwest Houston Wells Fargo bank.

Investigators say the woman received more calls asking for more money. The victim, who had never received a prize, became suspicious and called police.

Through an investigation, police were able to identify Cornell, who lives at a retirement home. They say his driver's license photo matches bank photos of the man who cashed the victim's checks. Tellers were also able to identify him from his driver's license photo.

Bail in the case is set at $5,000.