A shopkeeper from Gravesend, a town in northwest Kent, England, has been found guilty of trying to con a lottery syndicate [pool] out of nearly £80,000 (US$120,000) in winnings.
Imran Pervais, 26, misled the winning group into thinking they had won £10 when in fact they had scooped £79,887 after matching five balls and the bonus ball.
He was convicted by a jury at Maidstone crown court of fraud by false representation following a two-day trial and he will be sentenced at a later date.
Detectives said Pervais, of Milton Road, Gravesend, had abused the trust placed in him by the victims to try to pocket the lottery winnings himself.
He was working at Moores Convenience Store in Gravesend, on 18 May when the one of the syndicate walked in to check four lottery tickets he had bought the week before. The victim, who paid for 28 lines a week as part of a work syndicate, was told by Pervais that one of the tickets had registered a £10 win.
As another winning slip was being printed, the victim said: "What's that? Another tenner?" Pervais was said to have replied: "Yes."
Using the £20 won in total and adding a further £8, the victim bought another 28 lines for the next lottery draw — not realizing he had fallen victim to fraud.
It was only when the man returned to work and checked the numbers that he realized one of the lines had in fact matched five numbers, which would earn a prize of £1,000.
He then went back to the store and informed Pervais, who told him to return in a couple of hours so he could check the shop for the ticket.
In the meantime, the court heard the victim checked the numbers again and realized that in fact the bonus ball on that line had also been matched, triggering a near-£80,000 windfall.
He went back to tell Pervais and demanded to be shown the ticket. He was given a number of bin bags to search through before being invited to look behind the counter.
Some wooden plinths were removed from the back of the counter, revealing a number of pink winning slips and a screwed-up lottery ticket — the victim's winning ticket.
Camelot launched an investigation and found that all four tickets had been scanned, including the one with the substantial winning prize. Pervais was arrested on 15 June.
Following the verdict, Detective Constable Angela Costin said: "Pervais was placed in a position of trust and he abused that trust in an attempt to make a significant monetary gain for himself.
"He also denied this from the outset and sought to con this syndicate out of a considerable amount of money.
"It was the victim's organization of his syndicate paperwork that led him to discover that he had matched five numbers and the bonus ball.
"Many people put their trust in shop staff and ask them to check lottery tickets on their behalf. I hope this sends out a clear message to members of the public to check the tickets themselves."
Thanks to myturn for the tip.