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Store clerk accused of stealing $1M lottery ticket from customer

Topic closed. 32 replies. Last post 7 years ago by RJOh.

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United States
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November 4, 2006
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Posted: October 22, 2009, 3:50 pm - IP Logged

Some people should not be alowed to gamble..

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    NY
    United States
    Member #23835
    October 16, 2005
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    Posted: October 24, 2009, 2:25 pm - IP Logged

    "who in the hell haves the same first and last name?"

    Sounds like another case of bad parenting.

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      Monkey Butt, USA
      United States
      Member #54569
      August 23, 2007
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      Posted: October 24, 2009, 3:39 pm - IP Logged

      Willis Willis may have had the winning lottery ticket, but it was the convenience store clerk who had his number.

      As authorities tell it, years of playing the Texas lottery finally paid off for the Grand Prairie man in May when he walked into the Lucky Food Store with a million-dollar ticket.

      But in a double twist of tortured fortune, an opportunistic clerk may have cheated him out of his ticket and his treasure.

      Now, while Willis waits to be a millionaire, police are searching for the accused fraudster, who might be half a world away.

      Until he disappeared this summer — shortly before police seized his bank account — Pankaj Joshi was a trusted clerk at the Lucky Food Store in Grand Prairie.

      "He was an OK guy," said Masudur Rahman, who worked with the 25-year-old University of Texas-Arlington student for four years. "We never doubted him."

      Neither did the 67-year-old Willis, who regularly cashed his checks and bought his lottery tickets at the convenience store.

      Willis, a maintenance man and father of four, chose his numbers based on family birthdays and played the same slip until it could "no longer be read by the terminal," according to a police affidavit.

      "He's a guy living day to day," said his lawyer, Randy Howry, who met with Willis on Wednesday in Austin.

      The Lucky Food Store finally earned its name for Willis on May 29, when he spent $20 from a $238 check on three lottery tickets.

      Investigators said a Mega Millions ticket from that purchase won big at a drawing a few hours later, though Willis wouldn't know it for months.

      In hindsight, Willis may have missed several opportunities to prevent the ensuing debacle.

      He never saw the drawing on TV, he later told investigators, because he didn't know how to find it.

      He might have read about the winning numbers but he recently stopped buying the newspaper.

      Willis wasn't in the habit of signing his tickets — a simple safeguard that would have made any attempt to defraud him of his winnings "difficult, if not impossible," according to a spokesman for the Texas Lottery Commission in Austin, Texas, where the case is being prosecuted.

      Lucky Food Store even has an automatic ticket checker. But after four years as a customer, Willis trusted the clerks to check.

      "He couldn't believe that (Joshi) would do something," Rahman said. "He knew him as well as he knew me."

      The day after the drawing, when Rahman told Joshi that their store had sold a million-dollar ticket, the clerk laughed and seemed as surprised as everyone else, Rahman said.

      But by the time Willis walked in the next day, police said, Joshi had hatched the most dastardly of get-rich-quick schemes.

      As he always did, Willis handed the clerk his tickets, and Joshi dutifully handed him back a $2 prize for one of them.

      The clerk, according to the affidavit, neglected to mention that another ticket was worth $1 million.

      Willis might never have learned of his would-be fortune's misfortune if Joshi's coworkers hadn't sleuthed it out.

      Rahman said he and the Lucky Food Store manager got suspicious when Joshi turned in his notice two weeks after the drawing — saying he was moving back to Nepal to help his cousin with her perfume store.

      Alarm bells rang when the men learned that Joshi had claimed the prize from a lottery center in Austin, Texas. In four years, they said, they had never seen him buy a lottery ticket.

      The men tried to call Joshi to confront him, Rahman said, but he wouldn't pick up the phone.

      At the end of July, two months after the drawing, the Lucky Store manager tipped off the Texas Lottery Commission.

      A commission investigator visited the store and, after poring over receipts, determined Willis had bought the winning ticket.

      When the investigator called the almost-millionaire, Willis said he hadn't suspected a thing.

      After securing search warrants, Austin police raided four of Joshi's suddenly swelling bank accounts in September. The Travis County district attorney's office said it has so far seized $365,000 of the $750,000 the clerk was awarded. (The IRS, which wins no matter what, got a quarter of the prize.)

      Last month, a grand jury indicted Joshi with claiming a lottery prize by fraud. Because of the eye-popping dollar figure, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

      But the clerk seems to be long gone. Howry said he fears he's high-tailed it to Asia with the bulk of his client's cash.

      As for Willis?

      After being jilted by Lady Luck, he's frustrated, but not angry and is hoping to recover whatever he can, Howry said.

      "He knows (some of) the money's been collected," he said. "He knows he has to jump through hoops to claim it. He's been amazingly patient with the whole process."

      And amazingly optimistic, too.

      As he has done for years, Howry said, Willis continues to play the lottery.

      Just not at the Lucky Food Store.

      Willis stated that he plans to continue to play the lottery, but not at the Lucky Food Store. He is too stupid to purchase tickets anywhere else. If his sorry azz got robbed  at the Lucky Food Store then it is a given that his sorry azz will get robbed again elsewhere. He should be on his knees thanking the store owner and the employees for figuring out that his sorry azz was robbed!!! The ungrateful puppy!!! The store did not rob him, the greedy clerk did. I think the store owner and the store clerks went above and beyond the call of duty to this sorry puppy to make sure he got his money. If anything he should reward each and every one of those people for correcting a wrong that was done to him.

      "Willis might never have learned of his would-be fortune's misfortune if Joshi's coworkers hadn't sleuthed it out.

      Rahman said he and the Lucky Food Store manager got suspicious when Joshi turned in his notice two weeks after the drawing — saying he was moving back to Nepal to help his cousin with her perfume store.

      Alarm bells rang when the men learned that Joshi had claimed the prize from a lottery center in Austin, Texas. In four years, they said, they had never seen him buy a lottery ticket.

      The men tried to call Joshi to confront him, Rahman said, but he wouldn't pick up the phone.

      At the end of July, two months after the drawing, the Lucky Store manager tipped off the Texas Lottery Commission.

      A commission investigator visited the store and, after poring over receipts, determined Willis had bought the winning ticket.

      When the investigator called the almost-millionaire, Willis said he hadn't suspected a thing." 

       

      Had it not been for these folks Willis would've been happy and content with the $2 he was given. Had it been me notified that I had been frauded like this, I would feel obligated to give these people at least five to ten thousand dollars cash a piece because if it were not for them I would not have it.

      That is why I check my tickets more than once before I ever go to cash them in and I write in pencil on the back upper corner how much each ticket is worth. Sometimes I will wait a few days or weeks before I cash in the ticket if it is a large amount because I check it again to make sure that I did not misread the numbers during the excitement of winning.

      I have had some of my winning tickets to kick out as a non-winner more than once and pressed the clerk to run it through again and give me a print out for the date and drawing in question. When the clerk printed the result printout, it showed that my ticket was a winner. That is why I always ask for all of my non-winning tickets back.

        Nino224's avatar - Lottery-013.jpg
        Miami
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        July 9, 2008
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        Posted: October 25, 2009, 2:04 am - IP Logged

        He spent $20 on 3 lottery tickets? What game is that?

         

        I'm always amazed at how careless people can be. Why would you trust a $7 an hour clerk to check to see if you're holding millions of dollars?? At the very least you should stand there and watch them then ask for your ticket back. In that Dateline lottery investigation more than 50 of the clerks were busted lying about a winning ticket. It's bizarre.

        "...a chance to push everything aside, the circumstances that've controlled our lives, and do it our way now. Good, bad or otherwise. You'll maybe get lost in it, tied up in it a little bit, but if you work your way through that the real you shows up, I think. Maybe what's at your core deep down, maybe that comes out. Maybe that's what it's about." Mike Pace 

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          FL
          United States
          Member #77284
          July 19, 2009
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          Posted: October 25, 2009, 5:08 am - IP Logged

          poor willis... i hope he will be able to receive the portion of the retrieved winnings.

            rdgrnr's avatar - walt
            Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
            United States
            Member #73904
            April 28, 2009
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            Posted: October 25, 2009, 8:18 am - IP Logged

            Well, at least the IRS got their cut. At least we can all be happy and thankful for that, right? Yesiree,Bob!

            I'm so ecstatically happy I'm beside myself.   TwitchTwitch


                                                         
                                 
                                                     

             

             

             

             

                                                                                                               

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

                                                                                                        --Edmund Burke

             

             

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              Monkey Butt, USA
              United States
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              August 23, 2007
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              Posted: October 25, 2009, 8:41 am - IP Logged

              "The IRS, which wins no matter what ..." Troll

              I Agree!   I Agree!   I Agree!  I Agree!

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                Monkey Butt, USA
                United States
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                August 23, 2007
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                Posted: October 25, 2009, 8:55 am - IP Logged

                Well, at least the IRS got their cut. At least we can all be happy and thankful for that, right? Yesiree,Bob!

                I'm so ecstatically happy I'm beside myself.   TwitchTwitch

                Yup the IRS did get their cut. But guess what, they're gonna get paid again from this. How? Correct me if I am wrong..... When the ticket was cashed in by the crooked clerk, he was taxed for the one million dollar amount. Now, when/if Willis get the remaining money he will be taxed by the IRS because it will be considered income. Just because the money went to and was taxed under the crooked clerk's name as income will not get Willis from under the obligation of paying taxes on his windfall. Now to add insult to injury, how about the IRS taxes Willis on the whole million instead of the amount that is recovered on his behalf.

                I would say after paying the tax man and his attorney I'd be surprised if he has enough to buy a case of generic toilet paper to clean up the sh-it he caused by being too lazy to check his own tickets.

                So it is payday for the IRS. Congratulations IRS you're the real winner.

                 

                Party           Party     Party     Party

                  bashley572's avatar - starwars14
                  West Side of Sunny Florida
                  United States
                  Member #55048
                  September 8, 2007
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                  Posted: October 25, 2009, 9:08 am - IP Logged

                  Yup the IRS did get their cut. But guess what, they're gonna get paid again from this. How? Correct me if I am wrong..... When the ticket was cashed in by the crooked clerk, he was taxed for the one million dollar amount. Now, when/if Willis get the remaining money he will be taxed by the IRS because it will be considered income. Just because the money went to and was taxed under the crooked clerk's name as income will not get Willis from under the obligation of paying taxes on his windfall. Now to add insult to injury, how about the IRS taxes Willis on the whole million instead of the amount that is recovered on his behalf.

                  I would say after paying the tax man and his attorney I'd be surprised if he has enough to buy a case of generic toilet paper to clean up the sh-it he caused by being too lazy to check his own tickets.

                  So it is payday for the IRS. Congratulations IRS you're the real winner.

                   

                  Party           Party     Party     Party

                  Nope- IRS can only tax you on what you received, not what you 'should have' received.  They are good but not that good.

                  Money won is twice as good as money earned!

                    Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                    Chief Bottle Washer
                    New Jersey
                    United States
                    Member #1
                    May 31, 2000
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                    Posted: October 25, 2009, 6:17 pm - IP Logged

                    I deleted several political rants, and a couple of attacks.  Please keep the politics in the blogs.  If you'd like to discuss any of this political stuff with me, as far as what gets deleted and why, feel free to send me a PM, but please do not post those comments or questions in this thread.

                     

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                      fwlawrence's avatar - Yavill
                      Austin
                      United States
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                      December 6, 2004
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                      Posted: October 26, 2009, 12:07 am - IP Logged

                      "He never saw the drawing on TV,he later told investigators, because he didn't know how to find it."

                      What you talkin' about Willis Willis?

                        savagegoose's avatar - ProfilePho
                        adelaide sa
                        Australia
                        Member #37136
                        April 11, 2006
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                        Posted: October 27, 2009, 11:27 am - IP Logged

                        aww cmon people there is at least 2 convienence store owners who aint that bad, the ones who tipped of the lotto commision and got this old battler part of his winnings. sure he mAYbe dumb, and trusting and naive, but a world where people are trusting and not always watching out incase they are done over is a nicer world than  one where you dont trust anyone.

                         

                        well im glad he gets some of it. as the guy who claimed the win paid tax that isnt rightfully his, the state should hand it back to the real winner, and tax him on the amount he actually recieved.

                        state shouldnt get to keep tax on stolen money right? not when they know who the legit owner is?

                        2014 = -1016; 2015= -1409; 2016 JAN = -106; FEB= -81; MAR= -131; APR= - 87: MAY= -91; JUN= -39; JUL=-134; AUG= -124; SEP = -123; OCT= -84  NOV=- 73 TOT= -3498

                        keno historic = -2291 ; 2015= -603; 2016= JAN=-32, FEB= +12 , MAR= -86, APR = -77. MAY= -48, JUN= -29, JUL=-71; AUG = -52; SEPT= -43; OCT = +56 NOV = -33 TOT= -3297

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                          November 15, 2008
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                          Posted: October 28, 2009, 2:12 am - IP Logged

                          I hope this man get the money which rightfully belonged to him.  He should be thankful to the store owner and clerks who became suspicious of their co-worker sudden quitting and notifying authorities of his claiming the prize for himself.

                           

                          I too am guilty of having my tickets checked by store clerks.  I 'll never know if a ticket I had for Hold em Poker was a winner or not, but I always suspected that it may have won. From that point on, I get nonwinning tickets back from the clerks.

                          also, There are many stores in where self check of tickets are not available to check for game winners.  This does not include games like pb, mega, fantasy five (online games).

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                            Monkey Butt, USA
                            United States
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                            August 23, 2007
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                            Posted: October 28, 2009, 11:39 pm - IP Logged

                            I hope this man get the money which rightfully belonged to him.  He should be thankful to the store owner and clerks who became suspicious of their co-worker sudden quitting and notifying authorities of his claiming the prize for himself.

                             

                            I too am guilty of having my tickets checked by store clerks.  I 'll never know if a ticket I had for Hold em Poker was a winner or not, but I always suspected that it may have won. From that point on, I get nonwinning tickets back from the clerks.

                            also, There are many stores in where self check of tickets are not available to check for game winners.  This does not include games like pb, mega, fantasy five (online games).

                            Just because a store has no self-check ticket scanner, does not excuse the carelessness or laziness of the ticket owner for not doing it his/herself. Every state/country has "self check of tickets" available. It's called "Check It Yourself." There is no lottery player alive that can justify not checking their tickets after the drawing.  There are newspapers, the lottery website, the Lottery Post, the results printout, the 800 or 900 number to call for results. Need I go on?

                            Nor is there any valid excuse in all of existance to justify any lottery player not signing their ticket. That is one of the first things written on the back of playslips, results slips, any/all things lottery related. When you sign your ticket sign it in ink, not felt pen, crayon, or pencil. If you choose not to sign your name for security purposes then at least clearly print your name in ink.

                            Another thing you should do is always check your tickets before you go cash them in. I have had winning tickets kick out saying they were non winners when in actuality they were winners. I have had this happen more than once and because I asked for a print out of the drawing in question I was able to cash my ticket(s). If the clerk hadn't cashed the tickets, then I would've went to the local lottery office to find out why my ticket(s) were rejected by the system.

                            Just because the store clerk is a low-down-crook, does not excuse Mr. Willis for being careless and lazy.  Mr Willis must be held accountable for his actions and so should the crooked store clerk. If the U.S. can extradite this ***** then do it. But the money is long gone.

                            I always say, the best sense is bought sense. Well Mr. Willis has just paid for his sense to the sum of $635,000.

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                              nassau
                              Bahamas
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                              February 12, 2007
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                              Posted: October 30, 2009, 6:22 pm - IP Logged

                              Why play if you are not going to check what number throw,