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Father-daughter duo swindles Riverside man out of $24,000, police say

Sammy George and Cindy Elsner
Sammy George and Cindy Elsner
Riverside Police Department

Taking a page from “Matchstick Men,” a homeless con artist and his daughter joined forces to cheat a Riverside man out of money he thought he’d won in a lottery, police said.

The Riverside Police Department reports that Sammy George, 50, and his daughter Cindy Elsner, 31, cheated a 44-year-old mentally impaired man out of nearly $24,000 after telling him he had won the lottery and persuading him to make withdrawals and cash advances. The alleged con took place over two weeks beginning in March, CBS reports.

Police say that George and Elsner, both transients, have been booked on theft and conspiracy charges and are being detained in downtown Riverside. Elsner -- who was on parole for an L.A. County burglary -- also faces parole violation charges.

Anyone else who may have been victimized by the alleged grifters is asked to call Riverside Detective Dave Smith at (951) 353-7103 or Detective Greg Rowe at (951) 353-7136.

In the movie “Matchstick Men,” Nicholas Cage plays a tweaked con artist who teaches his daughter how to bilk people by telling them they’ve won the lottery, or variations on that theme.