NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A lottery scam victim is accused of helping the people who ripped her off.

Patricia Berak, 65, of Latham, is accused of conning an elderly Long Island man out of $40,000.

Police said Berak called the 87-year-old victim at his Great Neck home last month to tell him he won a jackpot.

CBS 2′ John Slattery reports the man was told on the phone to mail a series of checks and money grams to her  home near Albany.

Nassau Det. Sgt. Salvatore Scalone said Berak had been swindled out of $100,000 in the same scam and agreed to work with the scammers.

“At one point she realized she wasn’t going to get any of her money back and then they turned around and said if you want your money back, then you have to help us get this money,” Scalone told 1010 WINS. “She was sort of the middle person, she sort of helped facilitate their crimes.”

“She knew what she was doing and she knew that it was wrong,” Scalone said, adding that Berak believed it was the only way to recover some of the money she had lost.

At one point, Berak had even sold her car in hopes of trying to pay the scammers to get some of her money back.

Her lottery winnings had supposedly been $4.5 million. Berak, like her alleged victim, had been told she had to send money in advance to pay taxes, processing fees and couriers fees.

“They were scammed out of their life savings,” Scalone said.

Slattery reports the scam artists were smooth, professional, never met the victims face to face and the operation may have been based out of the country.

Police are warning others to never give or send information or checks to solicitors no matter what they promise or offer.

The investigation into the initial scam is ongoing.

A second suspect, Trevor Parchment, has not yet been arrested.

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