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Lottery retailers busted in raid

Scam AlertScam Alert: Lottery retailers busted in raid
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Store owners, clerks accused of stealing winning tickets

FRESNO, Calif. — Lottery officials raided several mini marts Tuesday in Fresno, California.

Owners and clerks were taken away in handcuffs after undercover investigators say the suspects cheated would-be customers by lying about winning tickets.

Late last year officers posing as consumers showed up at many local mini marts to test their honesty. More than a dozen store owners and employees failed. Today, authorities caught up with them at the businesses they are accused of cheating potential customers.

One woman cried as she was taken to jail. Her father in law didn't say anything as he was loaded into a police patty wagon. Lottery officials said the pair attempted to steal $1,000 dollars by turning in a winning lottery ticket brought in by an undercover police officer.

They told the officer the ticket was worthless, then kept it and claimed the winnings themselves. "Sometimes the tickets might be confusing to some people or they are might be in a hurry. They are trusting the person behind the counter is going to tell them the proper amount," said Bill Hertogue with the California Lottery.

Unfortunately not everyone is playing by the rules.

Frequent lottery players we talked to at this Tesoro mini mart said this store was not one of their luckiest.

Sontaya asks, "have you ever won?" nope, not even two dollars, that's the reason I quit buying here."

Not only are the owners and store clerks facing serious criminal charges, they can no longer sell lottery tickets. In fact, just as the arrests were made, technicians carted away lottery ticket machines and equipment, including satellite technology from the roof.

Omar Casillas said he makes a habit of checking his tickets himself. "For that reason, for that same reason, you never know, ah, you didn't win and he keeps the ticket. See that's just what happened right here. So that's why they made the machines available and people should use them."

Lottery officials said it's best to check your tickets yourself and sign them immediately if they are winners. Otherwise you could be the one getting played. "You don't know the extent or how long this has been going on. Of course when you ask them this is the first and only time they've done this but you can't be for sure," said Hertogue.

The stores busted are also in jeopardy of losing their liquor license. Lottery representatives said the bogus tickets used in the sting appeared to be $1,000 dollar winners so many of the suspects will be charged with attempted grand theft.

Thanks to TigerAngel for the tip.

KFSN

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44 comments. Last comment 6 years ago by dk1421.
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Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
Chief Bottle Washer
New Jersey
United States
Member #1
May 31, 2000
21616 Posts
Online
Posted: January 22, 2009, 12:36 pm - IP Logged

I love this story, because the crooks are nabbed, and people get educated about checking their tickets.

What do you think of my new "SCAM" graphic? Smile

 

Check the State Lottery Report Card
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Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
Help eliminate computerized drawings!

    s5thomps's avatar - Lottery-033.jpg
    Hard Luck, Ak
    United States
    Member #23472
    October 13, 2005
    254 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: January 22, 2009, 12:37 pm - IP Logged

    "Winners never cheat and cheaters never win!" When will people learn? Unhappy

      fja's avatar - gnome1

      United States
      Member #91
      January 19, 2002
      10223 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: January 22, 2009, 1:47 pm - IP Logged

      The domino effect:

      felony charges, and if you own the store:

      1.  You lose your lottery license

      2. You might lose any liquor license you have....

      3.  You'll definitley lose most of your customer base....

      Was that really worth it?  Some people just don't see it!

      P.S. Nice "SCAM" graphic Todd

      "Everybody has to believe in something...I believe I'll have another beer!"   = W.C.Fields                      

        diamondpalace's avatar - Untitled 2.jpg
        Dallas, TX
        United States
        Member #60284
        April 12, 2008
        3856 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: January 22, 2009, 1:56 pm - IP Logged

        The odds already agaisnt players, and come to find this...>_<

          NYSlugger 777's avatar - 777
          NY
          United States
          Member #54513
          August 21, 2007
          6371 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: January 22, 2009, 2:06 pm - IP Logged

          I love this story, because the crooks are nabbed, and people get educated about checking their tickets.

          What do you think of my new "SCAM" graphic? Smile

          I agree. I also love this story because the crooks are caught.  Good job by the undercover investigators & they deserve a reward themselves, because they  may have prevented other people from getting ripped off by these criminals in the future.Approve

          .

            TotallyDavis's avatar - Lottery-061.jpg
            New Member
            North Charleston, SC
            United States
            Member #69214
            January 6, 2009
            45 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: January 22, 2009, 2:14 pm - IP Logged

            I'm all about busting some bad guys, especially lottery ticket thieves...

             

            ...but doesn't this ring of 'entrapment'?  Isn't entrapment when a police officer entices someone to commit a crime that otherwise would have been unlikely?  Of course, maybe they are assuming that this was as likely a case as any other?

            Also, I'm curious as to how they can charge someone with 'grand larceny' just because something *appeared* to be worth a lot of money (the fake $1000 lottery tickets they used).

            So, if I have a fake gold watch on, with fake diamonds, that's worth all of $30 and someone steals it from me thinking it's real... they can be charged with 'grand larceny'?

            That doesn't sound right.

             

            But, overall, I'm glad these guys got busted and I hope this gets blown up.  The lottery is enough of a robbery as it is, without crooks actually sealing the deal. 

              Avatar
              Atlanta, GA
              United States
              Member #1265
              March 13, 2003
              3326 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: January 22, 2009, 3:11 pm - IP Logged

              Very nice graphic!!!

              Perhaps there had been reports to law enforcement of winning tickets having been kept which is why they sent them in to get "proof."

              Think the "worthless ticket" was a real $1000 winner that an undercover officer was told by a dishonest clerk that it was not a winner.

              Shame on them for cheating customers, but they'll probably have a long time to think about their actions.

              Good luck to everyone!

                fja's avatar - gnome1

                United States
                Member #91
                January 19, 2002
                10223 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: January 22, 2009, 3:11 pm - IP Logged

                I don't think its entrapment, they went in and tried to cash a lottery ticket...The clerk said it's not a winner.  Now either the clerk can't tell the difference or he knows its a winner and tells him its not worth anything.  Grand Larcency comes in when the clerk himself puts in a claim for the $1,000.00 at the lottery commision. 

                If nobody puts in a claim for the $1,000 ticket than a mistake has been made.  no harm no foul....

                 

                "Everybody has to believe in something...I believe I'll have another beer!"   = W.C.Fields                      

                  Kaptainess's avatar - hiro bird.jpg

                  United States
                  Member #63356
                  July 26, 2008
                  1427 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: January 22, 2009, 4:03 pm - IP Logged

                  I love this story, because the crooks are nabbed, and people get educated about checking their tickets.

                  What do you think of my new "SCAM" graphic? Smile

                  What do you think of my new "SCAM" graphic - Nice Todd!  Draws attention to what you should be looking out for.

                  As for getting paid in Pennsylvania its easy they print out a paid ticket and the money at the same time.  Or they will give you a 'no winner'. 

                  The ONLY thing that I'm getting upset with some of the lottery retailers is not being paid in cash but with a money orders or check.  I didn't play with either and take offense that they do that.  I will not cash my ticket at those places and do not return to play again.   I can see that they do not want to keep large amount of cash on hand in some places, but they could ask you to come back the next day and get it, but they won't even do that. 

                  IF anyone that has their tickets checked by a clerk they should ask for the ticket BACK and not let them keep it - its YOURS get it back.  That will shrink fraud.

                    Tenaj's avatar - michellea
                    Charlotte NC
                    United States
                    Member #17406
                    June 18, 2005
                    4036 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: January 22, 2009, 4:25 pm - IP Logged

                    Goody, goody, goody they got busted.  Hopely it is spread all of the news so that others are warned and people will start signing their tickets, asking for their tickets back, or just checking their own numbers. 

                    I hope the crooks get a lot of jail time, have to pay a lot of money (much much more than they stole) on top of losing creditablity, lottery license and liquor license.   Actually they should not be allowed to be in business.

                    That will show them not to prey on the ignorance of others.

                    takeemtothebank

                      tiggs95's avatar - Lottery-036.jpg

                      United States
                      Member #47420
                      November 4, 2006
                      3930 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: January 22, 2009, 4:46 pm - IP Logged

                      Check your numbers and deal with someone you trust..It's so easy..

                        RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
                        mid-Ohio
                        United States
                        Member #9
                        March 24, 2001
                        18023 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: January 22, 2009, 5:03 pm - IP Logged

                        Check your numbers and deal with someone you trust..It's so easy..

                        This should also be warning for retailers to only steel from customers they know other wise they could be dealing with the law.

                        * you don't need more tickets, just the right ticket * 
                        * your best chance at winning a lottery jackpot is to buy a ticket * 
                             Wink 


                          United States
                          Member #58528
                          February 18, 2008
                          710 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: January 22, 2009, 5:08 pm - IP Logged

                          I love this story, because the crooks are nabbed, and people get educated about checking their tickets.

                          What do you think of my new "SCAM" graphic? Smile

                          I love it when crooks get hauled away in handcuffs and paddy wagons.

                          Nice graphic,Todd.

                            Avatar
                            Kennesaw, GA
                            United States
                            Member #62138
                            June 18, 2008
                            1372 Posts
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                            Posted: January 22, 2009, 5:18 pm - IP Logged

                            I went to one retailer and they tried to give me less on my winnings, and then he said honest mistake, i never go back there to claim tickets at all..maybe i should report them............but that taught me to ask for a claim reciept on all my tickets, i trust no one