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More Calif. stores accused of stealing customers' lottery prizes

California LotteryCalifornia Lottery: More Calif. stores accused of stealing customers' lottery prizes

Perhaps you're not quite as unlucky in the lottery as you thought.

That scratcher ticket you tossed? Well, it just might have been a winner — with the cash prize going to none other than the store owner or clerk you passed it off to as garbage.

Ten retailers and clerks are accused of trying to cash in customers' winning lottery tickets at three locations in San Jose, two in Milpitas and one in Santa Clara. Nine people were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of felony grand theft of lottery tickets with one warrant pending.

As part of a statewide sting to crack down on unscrupulous clerks and store owners, undercover California Lottery investigators went to several retailers in Santa Clara County in December and handed the clerks a decoy winning $1,000 scratcher, asking if they had won. At five of the stores, the clerks told the investigators that the ticket was not a winner and then went on to file a claim with the California Lottery as if the winning ticket was theirs.

The owners and clerks that were arrested face fines and possibly prison time, if convicted. In those instances in which the suspects also were the owners, the California Lottery terminated its contract with the retailer.

"We want to send a message to anyone else that this type of behavior is not to be tolerated and we're coming after you," said Alex Traverso, spokesman for the California Lottery.

California Lottery officials began the stings about 15 months ago across the state, which has more than 20,000 authorized retailers.

"We wanted to make a more concerted effort to protect the integrity of our business and to make sure our customers are being treated fairly," Traverso said. He did not know how many stores investigators visited in Santa Clara County, but said it was more than the five where violations were found.

Traverso urged customers who play the lottery to always sign the back of the ticket so that no one else can pass it off as their own.

Stores where arrests were made:

  • Jerry's Market, 1491 S. Main St. in Milpitas. Owner Aslam Hussain Ali was arrested. A warrant is pending for his daughter, clerk Tanya Aslam Hussain. His lottery contract was terminated.
  • Mercado y Carniceria Moreno, 1075 Tully Road, San Jose. Clerk Miguel Angel Teran and his son, Renato Moreno Teran were both arrested. No charges have been filed against the owner at this time, but the contract was terminated due to sufficient cause.
  • 4th Street Bowl, 1441 N. Fourth St., San Jose. Clerk Nick Garcia Jr and Monique Duran were both arrested. Contract not terminated.
  • Guru's, 404 N. 13th St., San Jose. Owner Harduman Singh Sanghera and clerk Joginder Singh Chahal were both arrested. Lottery contracts at seven locations owned by Sanghera were terminated.

Santa Clara County sheriffs and the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control made the arrests, which were all in Santa Clara County.

Each of the crimes amounts to grand theft. All the suspects were accused of cheating Lottery customers.

"While these crimes involve only a small number of our more than 20,000 authorized retailers, we demand that all our retailers be fair and honest," California Lottery director Joan Borucki said. "The Lottery will not tolerate those who deceive our players and compromise the integrity of Lottery games."

In the Santa Clara County operation, undercover investigators posing as customers handed clerks decoy winning tickets and asked if they had won.

In some instances, the clerks told the investigators that their ticket was not a winner.  The suspects then went on to file a claim with the Lottery as if the winning tickets were theirs.

Lottery officials said the organization has one of the largest forces of sworn peace officers of any Lottery in the nation.

More than 95 cents of every Lottery dollar is returned to the community in the form of contributions to education, prizes and retail commissions, according to officials.

Since its inception in 1985, the Lottery has contributed nearly $21 billion to California schools out of total sales of more than $56 billion.

San Jose Mercury News, NBC, Lottery Post Staff

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22 comments. Last comment 6 years ago by DC81.
Page 1 of 2
Bradly_60's avatar - disney37
Atlantic Mine, Michigan
United States
Member #416
June 23, 2002
1614 Posts
Offline
Posted: March 6, 2009, 9:58 am - IP Logged

Interesting that all the names are not traditional American names.

    CowboysFan's avatar - Cowboys
    Sunny California
    United States
    Member #63790
    August 8, 2008
    220 Posts
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    Posted: March 6, 2009, 10:48 am - IP Logged

    Just another reason why it's important to know exactly how much money you actually won before you go claim it.


      United States
      Member #58528
      February 18, 2008
      710 Posts
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      Posted: March 6, 2009, 10:55 am - IP Logged

      Interesting that all the names are not traditional American names.

      What would be a tradional American name?I'm a fourth generation American and have an Irish surname.How many generations does a persons family have to live in America before they have a traditional American name?

       

      Back to the story.All California needs to do is require that all tickets be signed before they can be checked or cashed.Iowa started doing this last year and it seems to be working.At first it was a pain in the butt to sign every ticket,but now its second nature and a crooked clerk has no incentive to steal your ticket because they couldn't cash a big one if they wanted to.

        gocart1's avatar - lighthouse
        da bronx,city island,n.y.
        United States
        Member #30516
        January 17, 2006
        333 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: March 6, 2009, 8:29 pm - IP Logged

        What would be a tradional American name?I'm a fourth generation American and have an Irish surname.How many generations does a persons family have to live in America before they have a traditional American name?

         

        Back to the story.All California needs to do is require that all tickets be signed before they can be checked or cashed.Iowa started doing this last year and it seems to be working.At first it was a pain in the butt to sign every ticket,but now its second nature and a crooked clerk has no incentive to steal your ticket because they couldn't cash a big one if they wanted to.

        Thats a great idea Iowa has for lottery tickets..First time i'm hearing of it..Thanks MaddMike...I Agree!PartyUS FlagParty

          Avatar

          United States
          Member #10720
          January 23, 2005
          932 Posts
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          Posted: March 6, 2009, 9:12 pm - IP Logged

          I sometimes find scratch-offs that I double-check them and turn out to be winners of small prizes i.e. $3 or $5. Once even I found a Mega ticket in a parking lot (at night) and was for a future drawing and it matched 3 of 5. I have a program that can double-check Crossword tickets I find. If I found a big winner though I would turn it in but take photos of it first to prove I found it. I see how people play they buy dozens at once and rush through them. How they can check a Crossword game by not even marking most of the letters, is amazing. Other times they forget to scratch the "bonus prize" box or not understand that if you get a certain symbol it is also a prize.

            Avatar

            United States
            Member #54390
            August 17, 2007
            313 Posts
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            Posted: March 7, 2009, 1:59 am - IP Logged

            Interesting that all the names are not traditional American names.

            ... that's what I noticed too.

              Avatar
              New Member
              Louisville
              United States
              Member #71967
              March 7, 2009
              1 Posts
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              Posted: March 7, 2009, 4:59 am - IP Logged

              All these stories of clerks making off with stolen winnings would be moot if all the lotteries would buy machines with an LCD screen facing the customer.  The retailer I frequent here in Kentucky has one as an add-on on his lotto machine.  There is never a doubt if I've won or lost because it is plainly displayed for all to see.  I've often wondered why the states lotteries haven't upgraded to these superior machines over the years and the only reason I could come up with is the lotteries don't want us to see for their own dark reasons.

                Badger's avatar - adu50016 NorthAmericanBadger.jpg
                Wisconsin
                United States
                Member #1303
                March 27, 2003
                1508 Posts
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                Posted: March 7, 2009, 6:35 am - IP Logged

                As the economy/unemployment continues to get worse in a broken system, there will likely be many more people that are looking to steal anything to maintain their life style; whatever it may be.  We have a desparate situation that doesn't seem to be looking to change for the foreseeable future.  The Stimulus plan isn't going to do it.

                ============

                How can you tell if a politician is lying?

                Answer: His lips are moving.

                  time*treat's avatar - radar

                  United States
                  Member #13130
                  March 30, 2005
                  2171 Posts
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                  Posted: March 7, 2009, 7:52 am - IP Logged

                  As the economy/unemployment continues to get worse in a broken system, there will likely be many more people that are looking to steal anything to maintain their life style; whatever it may be.  We have a desparate situation that doesn't seem to be looking to change for the foreseeable future.  The Stimulus plan isn't going to do it.

                  As someone said "Good people will begin to do bad things and bad people won't wait."

                  Where are they going to put these people, though? Cali jails are so full, they are threatening to let out some of the ones they already have.

                  In neo-conned Amerika, bank robs you.
                  Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be the name of a convenience store, not a govnoment agency.

                    charmed7's avatar - Lottery-013.jpg
                    MICHIGAN
                    United States
                    Member #65282
                    September 22, 2008
                    1867 Posts
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                    Posted: March 7, 2009, 3:17 pm - IP Logged

                    Wow, that sucks   Some people will do anything for money.  I can see

                    if the scratch off was in the garbage, but to tell them they were LOSER,

                    NO thanks, jail is not on my list of places to visit. Paris Jail Sentence

                      Badger's avatar - adu50016 NorthAmericanBadger.jpg
                      Wisconsin
                      United States
                      Member #1303
                      March 27, 2003
                      1508 Posts
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                      Posted: March 7, 2009, 4:40 pm - IP Logged

                      As someone said "Good people will begin to do bad things and bad people won't wait."

                      Where are they going to put these people, though? Cali jails are so full, they are threatening to let out some of the ones they already have.

                      Our governor is doing the same thing in his proposed budget.  He wants to let out the "non violent" convicts; like the drug dealers.   Disapprove

                      ============

                      How can you tell if a politician is lying?

                      Answer: His lips are moving.

                        maringoman's avatar - kobold
                        Massachusetts
                        United States
                        Member #37433
                        April 14, 2006
                        2122 Posts
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                        Posted: March 7, 2009, 6:40 pm - IP Logged

                        "Interesting that all the names are not traditional American names."

                         

                        That comment reeks of bigotry. I never knew there is a set of names that make some people more American than others. And would Native American names like CHOLENA, KALISKA, HURIT, KIMAMA, MALILA be considered "traditional American names?"  People who are dishonest come in all shape, size and name type.

                          diamondpalace's avatar - Untitled 2.jpg
                          Dallas, TX
                          United States
                          Member #60284
                          April 12, 2008
                          3856 Posts
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                          Posted: March 8, 2009, 3:26 am - IP Logged

                          This is greed and ignorance mixed into one.


                            United States
                            Member #5122
                            June 18, 2004
                            68 Posts
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                            Posted: March 8, 2009, 9:38 am - IP Logged

                            Interesting that all the names are not traditional American names.

                            Hey Sherlock, in your amateur attempt to start racially profiling people by all means share with the rest of us what your pathetic idea is of "traditional American names." You no doubt think it is anyone who can trace their family tree back to the FOREIGN  British Isles. The dimwit George Bush would certainly fit your profile of the "traditional American." Being from Michigan tell us how you and your fellow citizens there are prospering from the policies carried out by "traditional Americans" like the WASP Bush.

                            It is obvious you conveniently forget that the Americas (North, Central and South) were already populated long before West Europeans crossed the Atlantic without any proper documentation, squatted here, and then used weapons to plunder and commit massacres. Sounds like the activity of a street gang doesn't it? Your so called "traditional Americans" were nothing more than illegal aliens. Nothing more than selfish, economic migrants who committed crimes against the local population who lived here for centuries. That's reality and it doesn't matter if this part of history is conveniently left out of the curriculum in your local school district or if bigoted people like you prefer to plant your empty heads in the sand and live in denial.