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Police: Store clerk conned La. lotto winner out of $800,000

Louisiana LotteryLouisiana Lottery: Police: Store clerk conned La. lotto winner out of $800,000

A lottery loser may have been a big winner after all.

A joint investigation by Louisiana State Police and the state's Lottery Corporation determined on Wednesday that a clerk at a Belle Chasse convenience store conned a jackpot winner out of his ticket and a payoff of $800,000.

The purchase of the ticket took place in late May, according to local media sources.

When the owner brought the ticket back to the store to claim his prize, the clerk allegedly told him he was mistaken and kept the ticket.

Investigators said Melissa Trahan, 27, later sent the winning slip to her mother in Mississippi. That woman, Gwen Landry, drove to Baton Rouge and cashed it in for the big prize, state police said.

Months later, the actual purchaser contacted authorities, convinced he did indeed buy a winning ticket. That prompted the investigation this month.

"I hope she gets the maximum penalty that she can get by law, because this is a shame," said Cathy Chaisson, who had just purchased her own tickets in Belle Chasse. "The person who played the ticket should be getting the money."

What money the rightful owner will recover is not yet known.

Investigators said they believe the suspects accepted a lump sum payment of $560,000 and were planning to move to an unknown location when they were arrested on Wednesday.

State Police recovered bank records, two handguns and a small amount of marijuana when they executed a search warrant at Trahan's Belle Chasse home.

A sum of $389,000 was subsequently located in a Mississippi bank account. Those funds have been frozen.

Thanks to petergrfn for the tip.


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19 comments. Last comment 8 years ago by myzeus.
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savagegoose's avatar - ProfilePho
adelaide sa
Member #37136
April 11, 2006
3297 Posts
Posted: September 27, 2008, 12:01 am - IP Logged

why o why the store clerk?  i guess if you are going to hand over your winning ticket put your name on the back. i mean getting your winnings is more important than staying annonymous.  if you hand over a ticket to someone ,   make sure it has ytour name on it., unless its the state HQ of lottery

2014 = -1016; 2015= -1409; 2016 JAN = -106; FEB= -81; MAR= -131; APR= - 87: MAY= -91; JUN= -39; JUL=-134; AUG= -124; SEP = -123   TOT= -3341

keno historic = -2291 ; 2015= -603; 2016= JAN=-32, FEB= +12 , MAR= -86, APR = -77. MAY= -48, JUN= -29, JUL=-71; AUG = -52; SEPT= -43  TOT= -3320

    TheGameGrl's avatar - character catafly.jpg
    A long and winding road
    United States
    Member #17084
    June 10, 2005
    4485 Posts
    Posted: September 27, 2008, 12:38 am - IP Logged

    correct Goose! Signing doesnt hurt even losing tickets  :)

    Good detective work by the investigation team. Glad to read stories this story

    ~~Is it true, Is it kind,Is it necessary. ~~~

    PA: Pick 4:   4445 has never been drawn. Maybe this will be the year it does Hyper

      ThatScaryChick's avatar - x1MqPuM
      United States
      Member #56506
      November 21, 2007
      6537 Posts
      Posted: September 27, 2008, 12:42 am - IP Logged

      I hope the guy gets his money back and those people get prosecuted if they are guilty. However, if I knew I had a set of winning numbers, there is no way I would just hand the ticket over to a store clerk. No way.

      "No one remembers the person who almost climbed the mountain, only the person who eventually gets to the top."

        United States
        Member #58528
        February 18, 2008
        710 Posts
        Posted: September 27, 2008, 1:09 am - IP Logged

        This is the reason that Iowa (& some other states) require that you sign the ticket before cashing it or having the clerk check it for you.Its a pain in the butt signing scratch offs to collect a dollar or two,but it keeps the clerks honest.

          Lotto*Love's avatar - lips
          Washington *state*
          United States
          Member #62009
          June 14, 2008
          192 Posts
          Posted: September 27, 2008, 1:27 am - IP Logged

          Man I'd be so mad! Then again, I probably would never take my ticket to anyone at a store.  Times are tough right now and people are doing some crazy things to make (or steal) a buck.

          I don't care how poor I am, I could never do that to someone.

          I wonder what a winning scratcher looks like..lol

          Surrender You can run, but you can't hide mighty Jackpot...surrender to me at once!

            s5thomps's avatar - Lottery-033.jpg
            Hard Luck, Ak
            United States
            Member #23472
            October 13, 2005
            274 Posts
            Posted: September 27, 2008, 4:00 am - IP Logged

            "Winners never cheat and cheaters never win!!"  I am glad they were able to catch the clerk who stole the ticket.  Let this be a lesson to all to either check your tickets on line, on the evening news or in the newspaper. It also helps to sign the ticket.  Just hoping that my numbers hit soon, The way the economy is looking a dollar is not even worth a dollar right now.  Why doesn't the goverment bail out people who are struggling instead of these financial institutions that got us into this mess.         



              time*treat's avatar - radar

              United States
              Member #13130
              March 30, 2005
              2171 Posts
              Posted: September 27, 2008, 10:06 am - IP Logged

              $389K could buy a big bag, I imagine. LOL

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

                diamondpalace's avatar - Untitled 2.jpg
                Dallas, TX
                United States
                Member #60284
                April 12, 2008
                3856 Posts
                Posted: September 27, 2008, 11:18 am - IP Logged

                I can understand if it is a mega million ticket with 300 millions + jackpot...but this? lol

                On a serious note, don't steal!


                  United States
                  Member #26330
                  November 16, 2005
                  330 Posts
                  Posted: September 27, 2008, 1:27 pm - IP Logged

                  I've never understood people who don't check their numbers themselves on a lotto ticket.   Even when a Powerball jackpot gets over 300 million I saw someone at my local gas station hand over his ticket to see if he was the winner.    Would you hand over a check for a million dollars??   If your ticket is a winner then that's the only proof you have!!  Treat it like you would a LARGE check.   Like the poeple you hear about throwing a ticket in a junk drawer or find it under there bed and it turns out to be a winner.   


                  Someday my Jackpot will come!!   "BIG "lottery" game hunter....lol

                    chasingadream's avatar - Archangel 01.jpg

                    United States
                    Member #38687
                    May 3, 2006
                    315 Posts
                    Posted: September 27, 2008, 2:26 pm - IP Logged

                    OMG......how in the world...............!

                    ummmmm I hope the clerk gets exactly what she deserves. That was so foul of her. Whats worse to think about is how many other store clerks have done this same thing and gotten away with it. Scared

                    Oogle  waiting patiently for my jackpot

                      lottocalgal's avatar - Lottery-043.jpg
                      United States
                      Member #57222
                      December 23, 2007
                      587 Posts
                      Posted: September 27, 2008, 6:14 pm - IP Logged

                      Man I'd be so mad! Then again, I probably would never take my ticket to anyone at a store.  Times are tough right now and people are doing some crazy things to make (or steal) a buck.

                      I don't care how poor I am, I could never do that to someone.

                      I wonder what a winning scratcher looks like..lol

                      Really,  I hope that clerk gets theirs... but good!

                        RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
                        United States
                        Member #9
                        March 24, 2001
                        19790 Posts
                        Posted: September 27, 2008, 8:14 pm - IP Logged

                        "When the owner brought the ticket back to the store to claim his prize, the clerk allegedly told him he was mistaken and kept the ticket."

                        I only take tickets in to claim a prize and if the clerk tells me it's a loser I request it back because I would rather recheck it later myself than call the clerk a cheat.  Besides, I keep all my losing tickets for taxes in case I win a large prize.  Some clerk keep the winning tickets because the terminal prints paid on them with slip showing the amount they should pay the customer which they keep as a record showing why they removed that amount of money from their register.

                         * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
                        * your best chance for winning a lottery jackpot is to buy a ticket * 
                                  Evil Looking       

                          JackpotWanna's avatar - squiz

                          United States
                          Member #4121
                          March 23, 2004
                          817 Posts
                          Posted: September 27, 2008, 9:15 pm - IP Logged

                          Greed does crazy things to good people.  Very sad. 

                            Sandra Dee's avatar - dandy
                            United States
                            Member #61147
                            May 13, 2008
                            129 Posts
                            Posted: September 27, 2008, 10:43 pm - IP Logged

                            Greed does crazy things to good people.  Very sad. 

                            no no no ... no good person would do something like this .. evil, shiesty, devious people that get a chance will go ahead and do crazy things ... who knows that she was good, i doubt it .. i can see if it's crazy good things [good people in love do retarded crazy things] but greedy evil people do this and good people that are greedy, know better and restrict themselves from doing such ... no? it sounds as if the person had checked it and came simply to CLAIM it .. their mistake not to take the ticket back - had a winning scratch off, knew it, went to get money, the clerk said not a winner and threw it in garbage - i told them 'give it back' and asked the other clerk to verify, guess what? winner [as i knew] told the other one they need to stop doing these scams on people - customers around just shook their head, doubt it anyone is going back there to check their tickets - but there are many illegit clerks that will try their luck and do this - they either get caught or not - i'm glad this one did - hope she gets the book thrown at her and mama!