Middle Eastern Shop Owners Steal Winning Lottery Tickets
It would appear that there is a growing epidemic of dishonest shop owners who steal the lottery winnings from their patrons in the United States. Within the past few years, there have been a growing number of cases where patrons have reported shady dealings to the authorities when it comes time to cash in their lottery tickets. There is a commonality with these cases. The majority of the shop owners guilty of this scam is a Middle Eastern descent.
November 2013, a 34-year-old man in Hempstead, New York went into a convenience store and handed over a winning lottery ticket. The son of the shop owner scanned the man’s ticket and the message “File claim: jackpot winner – please return original ticket to the customer along with a claim receipt,” appeared. This meant that the man had won a million dollars!
Instead of giving the man the ticket and a claim receipt, he told the gentleman he only won $1,000, to which he paid out in cash. The man left the store, oblivious to what happened. The next day rolls around, and he becomes suspicious. So he goes back to the store and confronts the clerk.
Supposedly, the clerk told him he would pay the man $10,000 as long as he didn’t involve the police. Not only did the son lie, but the store’s owner (the clerk’s father) insisted that the winnings were just for $10,000. This made the man even more suspicious, and he did what any normal person would do and called the cops. Both men were arrested for grand larceny.
In March of 2013, two brothers were charged with stealing a $5 million lottery ticket from one of their patrons. The man who turned the ticket in was told he had won only $5,000 and was paid $4,000 (the shop owner took $1,000 for the store fee). The gentleman knew the ticket was worth $5 million. The store owners waited six years before cashing in the winning ticket. The brothers have been charged with the crime and went to trial in April 2013. The family knows a thing or two about lottery fraud. The brother’s uncle was also charged with stealing 256 scratch-off tickets.
In 2012, a woman in New Orleans, Louisiana almost got swindled out of $10,000. The numbers on her lotto ticket for the Mega Millions matched 4 of the five white balls, and she also matched the yellow power ball number. When she went to claim her winnings, the clerk told her she only won $3.
Luckily, the woman always signs her name on the back of her lotto tickets (Good idea!), so when the clerk tried to cash in the winning ticket, he was arrested. He has been charged with trying to cash in an altered lottery ticket. The four convenient stores that he owns have been suspended from selling lottery tickets. The woman has since received her winnings.
A Common Thread?
These stories and others like it seem to have a common thread. Middle Easterners typically own the shops where the scams are being carried out. It would be wrong to say that this is a just a mere coincidence; but, it would also be wrong to say that these sorts of crimes are committed solely by those from the Middle East.
It’s an unfortunate circumstance when you cannot trust even the store clerk who handles your lottery tickets. Yes, it could be tempting to have a winning lottery ticket in your hand, but the store receives some money for selling winning lottery tickets. Why be dishonest and potentially face big time legal troubles?
Greed is an ugly motivator. If there is one thing that can be learned from these stories is to be wary of who handles your lottery tickets. Take steps to ensure that you receive your winnings.