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Maryland liquor store owner charged in lottery scam

Maryland LotteryMaryland Lottery: Maryland liquor store owner charged in lottery scam
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NORTH POINT, Md. — The owner of a liquor store in North Point, Maryland, was arrested and charged with grand theft, petty theft, and fraud after she was caught stealing an undercover agent's winning lottery ticket worth $10,000.

Ross Liquors, located in the Merritt North Shopping Center, had its Maryland Lottery license revoked following the undercover operation.  The theft occured on last week, on March 8th.

Ross Liquors store owner, Melissa Ann Stone, 39, of the 3900 block of Goose Harbor Road in Middle River, has been charged with attempted theft of between $10,000 and $100,000. A trial date has been set for May 26.

Ross Liquors remains open, but no longer sells lottery tickets or hosts Maryland Lottery Keno.

A lottery security investigator, acting on a tip, took a winning ticket to Ross Liquors, but was told the ticket was not a winning number.

Police said when Stone scanned it, the lottery terminal made a loud noise, which is normal when a winning ticket is cashed in. Investigators said the horn is loud enough for the hearing impaired to hear.

"It's pretty obvious — bells, whistles and lights go off letting the agent know that it's a winning ticket, but in this case (she) would tell the person it wasn't a winning ticket and keep the ticket," Baltimore County Police Lt. Rob McCullough said.

Stone told the undercover agent that the ticket wasn't a winner and, later that day, she went to the Maryland State Lottery Commission and tried to cash in the scratch-off ticket for herself, detectives said.

Stone was later arrested and charged with grand theft, petty theft and fraud.

Winning tickets over $5,000 must be claimed at the Maryland Lottery Claim Centers in Baltimore at Montgomery Park or in Lanham.

Maryland Lottery Director Stephen Martino said agents regularly make compliance checks at retailers to test the system: 600 in the past year have turned up a dozen violations.  Martino pointed out that sting operations are not designed to force the retailer to commit a crime.

"We're not enticing a retailer to steal from the public, you know they make that decision," Martino said, adding with the integrity of the games and the state at stake, investigators test lottery outlets to insure honesty.

"I think that retailers are aware and they're certainly going to be aware after this story airs that this is a program of the Maryland Lottery to make sure that people are acting consistent with the integrity standards that we set forward consistent with the license that they hold."

Stone wasn't the only one who tried to cash in someone else's winning ticket. Lottery officials said that a dozen retailers from Frederick to the Eastern Shore got caught in their sting operation.

"We do that to make sure that relationship between retailers and players is fair and there is integrity in the lottery program. That's why we randomly visit retailers (and) initiate compliance checks based on concerns expressed by players," Martino said.

Nearby business owners in the Dundalk Merrit North Shopping Center said Stone has a good reputation amongst the community and they are shocked by the revelation.

"I always thought Melissa was really good — a really nice person," said Shirley Maddy, of Cake Connection. "I'm surprised because I've had winning lottery tickets from up there. They've never been big, but I've never had a problem with them."
Ross Liquors is still open, but the lottery suspended its license to sell tickets.

Ross Liquors has been serving the Dundalk community since 1982.

Efforts to reach Stone by phone at her place of business and at home were not successful Tuesday.

A judge released her on her own recognizance because this is her first arrest.

The lottery director offered some advice to protect people from fraud: sign the back of your ticket and ask the clerk to return it to you if you want to visit another retailer to double check the outcome.

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

News story photo(Click to display in gallery)

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

Thanks to truesee for the tip.

Lottery Post Staff

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28 comments. Last comment 3 years ago by grave.
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dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
Oklahoma
United States
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November 12, 2009
5223 Posts
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Posted: March 16, 2011, 8:44 am - IP Logged

No she didn't.... glad she got caught.....she definitely deserves to go to jail.....

    sully16's avatar - sharan
    Listens to the wind

    United States
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    October 28, 2009
    18769 Posts
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    Posted: March 16, 2011, 8:46 am - IP Logged

    Missy this wouldn't have happened if you were a member of Lottery post, you would have known

    everyone is always on the lookout for dishonest clerks...

    You screwed your life up for 10 grand ..Yikes ! your dumb.

    There's only one US Flag

      butterflykt's avatar - Lottery-043.jpg

      United States
      Member #102746
      December 25, 2010
      108 Posts
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      Posted: March 16, 2011, 8:49 am - IP Logged

      Police said when Stone scanned it, the lottery terminal made a loud noise, which is normal when a winning ticket is cashed in. Investigators said the horn is loud enough for the hearing impaired to hear.

      "It's pretty obvious — bells, whistles and lights go off letting the agent know that it's a winning ticket, but in this case (she) would tell the person it wasn't a winning ticket and keep the ticket," Baltimore County Police Lt. Rob McCullough said.

       

      She is so dumb!  I wish I could have been a fly on the wall to see her face when she got caught.  She deserves to go to jail.

      All things are possible to those that believe!!!!!!Wink

        OldSchoolPa's avatar - Lottery-057.jpg
        Gurnee, Illinois
        United States
        Member #49731
        February 12, 2007
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        Posted: March 16, 2011, 9:12 am - IP Logged

        Can you say DUMB DA DUMB DUMB!!!  Stupid dumb is what she is.  This reminds me of those stings the police are conducting around the country using bait cars.  But I digress....I imagine her defense is going to sound a little like this...."I have been doing lottery players a favor with my promotions.....I felt I was "entitled" to some of winnings since I checked/cashed tickets for people even if they didn't purchase the ticket at my store.  Oh and the person....blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.  Good advice for scratchers....sign that ticket as soon as you get it.  But for online games, I would prefer to check whether I have a winner via the website or the news and if I were to go to a retail store to check it, I would only use the self-check machine.  I would under no circumstances hand my ticket to a retail clerk....trust them only enough to purchase the ticket but not to check if it is a winner.

        Get MONEY!!! Winning a JACKPOT lottery is all the HOPE and CHANGE I desire!!!  NOW give me MONEY!US Flag

        The guy who won the presidency in 2008 really won the lottery...he is now millions richer, travels in first class style, and even has a staff that would be the envy of the richest Powerball winner (she has a staff of 2). Every night he goes to sleep, he probably plays the close of Dave Chappelle's Show: I'm rich beyatch!

          Avatar
          md
          United States
          Member #14047
          April 20, 2005
          541 Posts
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          Posted: March 16, 2011, 9:59 am - IP Logged

          I live 30 minutes from there.  Never have stopped to play there though. Im always checking, and double checking my numbers.  But to think that someone would hear all the bells and whistles (horns) and think no one would call her on the carpet is insanity.  She must be really going through an aweful financial crisis to be that pressed and bold.  She'll never live it down in her community.

            hearsetrax's avatar - 78638c467ef281febf24383e126f74b6

            United States
            Member #52345
            May 21, 2007
            1791 Posts
            Online
            Posted: March 16, 2011, 11:20 am - IP Logged

            I tink she should've lost her store as well

              OldSchoolPa's avatar - Lottery-057.jpg
              Gurnee, Illinois
              United States
              Member #49731
              February 12, 2007
              837 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: March 16, 2011, 11:53 am - IP Logged

              Well I am sure she will also have to pay a fine when she is convicted.  The stigma associated with having been found to be a cheat combined with the fact that many people make impulse decision to frequent retailers that participate in the lottery should see her foot traffic decrease substantially, and it might not be too long before she does lose her store.  In due time, justice will prevail.  In the meantime, let that MegaMillions jackpot roll higher and higher....for an "honest but good lawd I need the money" person like me to win a super Mega MegaMillions jackpot!

              Get MONEY!!! Winning a JACKPOT lottery is all the HOPE and CHANGE I desire!!!  NOW give me MONEY!US Flag

              The guy who won the presidency in 2008 really won the lottery...he is now millions richer, travels in first class style, and even has a staff that would be the envy of the richest Powerball winner (she has a staff of 2). Every night he goes to sleep, he probably plays the close of Dave Chappelle's Show: I'm rich beyatch!

                HaveABall's avatar - rocket

                United States
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                March 18, 2009
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                Posted: March 16, 2011, 3:14 pm - IP Logged

                I live 30 minutes from there.  Never have stopped to play there though. Im always checking, and double checking my numbers.  But to think that someone would hear all the bells and whistles (horns) and think no one would call her on the carpet is insanity.  She must be really going through an aweful financial crisis to be that pressed and bold.  She'll never live it down in her community.

                I Agree! Wow, here she's a respected business woman, who owns her own established small business store (which takes a few years work and intelligence), and she decides to steal someone's (or a few winning lottery ticket holders) income gain for her own (which her small business would have probably earned equivalent within 1.5 - 2 months)! 

                Why would someone become so desperate that they'd be willing to dangle their built-up reputation, integrity, livelihood, and business volume for a measly pre-taxed $10,000!  [Maybe filing for and receiving chapter 7 bankruptcy is becoming more difficult than it used to be!?! ... so double check BOTH store clerks and store owners, our country is in a deep depression for at least another 5 years after all.]

                Having millions of dollars in my financial accounts means more, consistent fun for me.Lovies

                  rdgrnr's avatar - walt
                  -Ridge Runner- Oracle of the Appalachians
                  Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
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                  Posted: March 16, 2011, 3:57 pm - IP Logged

                  Congrats to Md for doing their job!

                  TN would never even THINK of doing it.

                  The crooks here are free to rip off anybody they want and they know nobody is checking up on them.

                  I reported a clerk who tried to rip off my wife (I got the money btw) and they just told me to be careful and didn't even ask where it happened.

                  WTG Maryland!

                  Tennessee Lottery Sucks.


                                                               
                                       
                                                           

                   

                   

                   

                   

                                                                                                                     

                  "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                              --Edmund Burke

                   

                   

                    Litebets27's avatar - power
                    Maryland
                    United States
                    Member #10465
                    January 14, 2005
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                    Posted: March 16, 2011, 6:43 pm - IP Logged

                    Police said when Stone scanned it, the lottery terminal made a loud noise, which is normal when a winning ticket is cashed in. Investigators said the horn is loud enough for the hearing impaired to hear.

                    "It's pretty obvious — bells, whistles and lights go off letting the agent know that it's a winning ticket, but in this case (she) would tell the person it wasn't a winning ticket and keep the ticket," Baltimore County Police Lt. Rob McCullough said.

                     

                    She is so dumb!  I wish I could have been a fly on the wall to see her face when she got caught.  She deserves to go to jail.

                    If this is true, the terminals in the stores were I play lottery mut be malfunctioning. I've only heard bells and whistles when winning promotional tickets are cashed in. I've had some big wins, but the only loud noice I heard was the store's owners saying, oh wow!!

                    Ms Stone...Go directly to Jail...Don't pass go...Don't collect...anything. What a thief.

                    Feeling,  PRICELESS!!!Banana

                    Peace be with you!!

                      freeobama's avatar - Lottery-057.jpg
                      Sunny part of town
                      United States
                      Member #102880
                      December 27, 2010
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                      Posted: March 16, 2011, 7:09 pm - IP Logged

                      GREED  lead to her downfall.Red Devil

                        TheGameGrl's avatar - p42a
                        Pennsylvania
                        United States
                        Member #17084
                        June 10, 2005
                        3110 Posts
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                        Posted: March 16, 2011, 7:19 pm - IP Logged

                        If this is true, the terminals in the stores were I play lottery mut be malfunctioning. I've only heard bells and whistles when winning promotional tickets are cashed in. I've had some big wins, but the only loud noice I heard was the store's owners saying, oh wow!!

                        Ms Stone...Go directly to Jail...Don't pass go...Don't collect...anything. What a thief.

                        Litebet, the MD terminals are set for volume, the clerks can have the option to turn it off or very low volume. I frequent the MD area for busines and often when I go into lottery places, they keep the volume at a moderate level, but not to the extent that a hard of hearing person could decipher.

                        This lady in question was nieve ....How sad that she had to go to such lengths to learn a lesson in life. ...

                        ________________________________

                        Signature quote-If I'd agree with you , we'd both be wrong.

                          Litebets27's avatar - power
                          Maryland
                          United States
                          Member #10465
                          January 14, 2005
                          5512 Posts
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                          Posted: March 16, 2011, 7:53 pm - IP Logged

                          Litebet, the MD terminals are set for volume, the clerks can have the option to turn it off or very low volume. I frequent the MD area for busines and often when I go into lottery places, they keep the volume at a moderate level, but not to the extent that a hard of hearing person could decipher.

                          This lady in question was nieve ....How sad that she had to go to such lengths to learn a lesson in life. ...

                          Gamegirl, I can appriciate what your saying about the volumes, but, when you have big wins the machines don't sound off with bells and whistles. The Maryland State lottery run promotional games frequently that will have music  or horns sound off when you present a winning ticket to be cashed in. I am allowed to scan my tickets at the store where I usually play lottery. I have scanned several $1000.00 Keno tickets. Never once did a bell or whistle sound off.

                          When someone presents a big win, one of the owners usually will call me over to tell me that he or she had a $...... ticket. (that is if I'm in the store at the time).  At this time, there is a promotion going on where the terminal will spit out free play vouchers of $2, $5, or $10.  Horns sound off whenever one pops up. Everyone knows you've won something.

                          One thing that the terminals are capable of is showing how much you are paying out or won on the screen that is facing the customer. But, until the cashier pushes the payout button on the machine, the cashier can see how much you will be paid or how much you will owe. If the cashier doesn't push the button to complete the transaction, the customer will not see how much they will win or owe.

                          Feeling,  PRICELESS!!!Banana

                          Peace be with you!!

                            NYSlugger 777's avatar - 777
                            NY
                            United States
                            Member #54513
                            August 21, 2007
                            6371 Posts
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                            Posted: March 16, 2011, 11:46 pm - IP Logged

                            Police said when Stone scanned it, the lottery terminal made a loud noise, which is normal when a winning ticket is cashed in. Investigators said the horn is loud enough for the hearing impaired to hear.

                            "It's pretty obvious — bells, whistles and lights go off letting the agent know that it's a winning ticket, but in this case (she) would tell the person it wasn't a winning ticket and keep the ticket," Baltimore County Police Lt. Rob McCullough said.

                             

                            She is so dumb!  I wish I could have been a fly on the wall to see her face when she got caught.  She deserves to go to jail.

                            Hey be careful what you wish for you may really come back as a fly in the afterlife...LOL only kidding!Green laugh

                            Yes I agree she deserves to go to jail and i'm glad they did this undercover sting. More Undercover operations should be done like this in the future in other states too to crack down on  scam artists who are willing to steal prize money from would be winners. It's a sad thing that we have dishonest lottery clerks like her working all over the country and the sad reality is that things like this will happen to real lottery players in the future. The best way to prevent Frauds and scams like this is for state lotteries to encourage players to check their own tickets using a self - check machine.It's sad but the truth is  some lottery clerks cannot be trusted and some of them are dishonest. THe following statement should ve printed on EVERY lottery ticket sold in the U.S.

                            "WARNING LOTTERY PLAYERS!!! DO NOT TRUST LOTTERY AGENTS TO TELL YOU IF YOUVE WON A PRIZE, AS THEY MAY TELL YOU NO YOU HAVEN't WON AND THEN THEY KEEP THE ACTUAL WINNINGS FOR THEMSELVES. INSTEAD WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO USE A SELF - CHECK SCANNER LOCATED IN THE RETAILERS  STORE SO THE MACHINE CAN LET YOU KNOW IF YOU'VE WON AND WHAT YOUR TOTAL WINNINGS ARE."

                            .