Cops: Avon chef steals $50K, loses it in scam |

Cops: Avon chef steals $50K, loses it in scam

Steve Lynn
Vail, CO Colorado

AVON, Colorado ” An executive chef stole $50,000 from his employer only to lose it in a foreign lottery scam in which he hoped to win $1.5 million, Detective Paul Arnold of the Avon Police Department said.

Thomas Jefferson Newsted, 33, of Avon, was arrested after he stole $35,000 March 4 and another $15,000 six days later from Zacca Za, Arnold said.

Newsted said he got an e-mail offering him six lottery tickets for $20 for a European lottery, Arnold said.

Newsted bought the tickets and later got an e-mail from a man in South Africa saying he had won $1.5 million in the lottery, but had wire $60,000 in fees and taxes to get the $1.5 million.

Newsted and his family put up the other $10,000, Arnold said.

The owners of Zacca Za noticed the missing $50,000, which Newsted had wired to South Africa, and reported the theft Wednesday, Arnold said. Newsted was being taken to Eagle County jail Thursday afternoon, Arnold said.

“These (e-mails) go to lots and lots of people,” Arnold said about the foreign lottery scams. “But he was gullible enough to believe he was actually getting into something good. I would hope most people just delete them.”

Newsted said he planned to tell someone about it, Arnold said.

Police cannot not get back the money because South Africa and most other foreign governments do not help with fraud investigations, Arnold said.

“Once it gets out of the country, unless it’s murder, most people are not going to bat an eye,” Arnold said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation only will investigate fraud where people lose $150,000 or more, Arnold said.

Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or

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