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$75,000 California Lottery winner leaves with only $75

California LotteryCalifornia Lottery: $75,000 California Lottery winner leaves with only $75
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UPDATE: "Winner" was actually undercover inspector

By Todd Northrop

The search is on for a lottery winner in California who walked away with a much smaller prize than he actually won.

A man who went to cash out his Wild West Poker scratch-off lottery ticket at a Palmdale, California, gas station was given $75, but his ticket was actually worth $75,000.

Officials are trying to track down the man who went into a Palmdale store and was thousands of dollars short of his winnings.

Shamsun Hahar Islam, the Palmdale gas station manager, said the cashier misread the numbers on the machine.

"He gave the ticket to my cashier, and the cashier, he put it in the machine. And it looks like a 75 because he's focusing on the 75. He didn't focus on the zero," Islam said.

The man just took his money and left, and that's when the cashier realized his mistake.

The cashier called Islam right away. Russ Lopez with the California Lottery said he was contacted and the organization is conducting a slow, but thorough investigation.

"We have been contacted, but we haven't had enough time to get all the answers," said Russ Lopez of the California State Lottery.

The winner turned in the ticket March 25 but didn't sign the back of the ticket — so the recently released surveillance video is playing a big part in identifying him.

"If he cannot claim, then it goes back to the lottery company. I feel bad. I feel bad. I want to give him the ticket," Islam said.

The winner has six months to claim the full prize.

FLASH: "Winner" was actually undercover inspector

In a sudden twist of events, the California Lottery announced Monday that the "winner" of the $75,000 scratch-off prize was actually an uncover inspector for the lottery, and the Palmdale gas station has been placed under investigation.

The gas station released surveillance video of the purported winner on Sunday in an effort to identify the man and reward him his rightful earnings, the station's manager said.

But the video actually shows an undercover investigator from the California Lottery on an inspection stop, according to Russell Lopez, a deputy director for the lottery.

"This is an odd situation," Lopez said. "We don't want the public looking for a winner that doesn't exist."

So on Monday, lottery officials were forced to acknowledge the man seen in the video was an undercover compliance investigator and the gas station a current target of a state investigation.

Taken from behind the register, the video shows a man in a brown short-sleeved shirt and a backwards baseball cap waiting as the clerk examines the ticket and hands over cash. The interaction, which appears to take a few minutes, occurred March 25 at a Chevron station on Sierra Highway at East Avenue S.

"Since the store held onto the ticket, it appears the ticket was mishandled," Lopez said in a brief statement. "We are currently investigating this case."

The California State Lottery Act requires year-round compliance checks "to protect our business, our players, and yes, our retailers," Lopez said. Compliance is 98 percent, meaning almost all retailers "act with integrity and honesty," Lopez said.

Chevron station manager Shamsun Islam said the clerk realized his mistake after the apparent ticket-holder left.

The man had turned in a ticket for the top prize in the Wild West Poker Scratchers game. Players have a one in 1,196,120 chance of winning the $75,000 prize, according to the lottery's website for the game.

"He feels so bad," Islam said of the clerk.

The clerk immediately called Islam, who in turn called her boss, who instructed her to call California Lottery officials. Shamsun said lottery officials said someone would come by to pick up the ticket.

After several weeks, when no one appeared, she reached out to news media to try to find the man she believed was owed $75,000.

No determination has been made as to the intent of the gas station clerk or manager, Lopez said. He told the Los Angeles Times that officials were trying to determine if authorities were ever notified about the ticket, and if any fraud was committed.

Until Shamsun went public with the surveillance video, officials had been waiting to see if anyone would try to file a claim on the $75,000, the Times reported.

Islam, meanwhile, urged lottery players to always fill out the fields for name and contact information on their tickets.

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65 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by Stack47.
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plumsage's avatar - rinard

United States
Member #132459
September 4, 2012
287 Posts
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Posted: May 4, 2015, 6:13 pm - IP Logged

And this is why you should always check your ticket yourself.  Humans can always make mistakes.  I hope they find the winner.

    hearsetrax's avatar - 0118

    United States
    Member #52345
    May 21, 2007
    2659 Posts
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    Posted: May 4, 2015, 6:13 pm - IP Logged

    Crazyimagine that an almost honest clerk

      user71926's avatar - batman34
      New York, NY
      United States
      Member #156554
      June 22, 2014
      23 Posts
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      Posted: May 4, 2015, 6:17 pm - IP Logged

      Unbelievable!   How do you misread $75.00 from $75,000.00???

      ''He has achieved success who has worked well, laughed often, and loved much.''~Elbert Hubbart

       

      "Our patience will achieve more than our force."~Edmund Burke

        inittowin's avatar - 039ee315cfea4c12c8f5
        If you don't like it, spit it out!
        United States
        Member #4756
        May 23, 2004
        3433 Posts
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        Posted: May 4, 2015, 6:19 pm - IP Logged

        The CA lottery is saying that the guy who turned in the ticket was actually an under cover lottery agent.

        Stay tuned for the news at 11!

        .

          savagegoose's avatar - ProfilePho
          adelaide sa
          Australia
          Member #37136
          April 11, 2006
          3300 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: May 4, 2015, 6:56 pm - IP Logged

          If it was me I wouldnt be annoyed at all.

          because i wouldnt $^^$%^& know.

          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

            Avatar

            United States
            Member #122691
            February 6, 2012
            330 Posts
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            Posted: May 4, 2015, 7:04 pm - IP Logged

            What the hell? Most states, at least my state won't even give you a dollar amount over $500, it just tells you to contact the lottery office or something like that. This should never have happened. At least the clerk and owner were honest, so good on them. There should be no 6 month maximum time to reclaim his prize since the clerk screwed up, it should be held in a trust account until he is found, period. 

              music*'s avatar - nw bookeep.jpg
              Happy California
              United States
              Member #157856
              August 2, 2014
              1520 Posts
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              Posted: May 4, 2015, 7:09 pm - IP Logged

               Just imagine what you could do with $75,000.00 !

               I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, rich is better. 

               Attributed to Joe E. Lewis and others

                hearsetrax's avatar - 0118

                United States
                Member #52345
                May 21, 2007
                2659 Posts
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                Posted: May 4, 2015, 7:19 pm - IP Logged

                 Just imagine what you could do with $75,000.00 !

                Green laughI could spend that in 8hrs

                  Avatar
                  Sunny California
                  United States
                  Member #40295
                  May 31, 2006
                  7712 Posts
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                  Posted: May 4, 2015, 7:24 pm - IP Logged

                  "misread"........riiiight! Sounds like there will be a job for clerk opening up soon.

                  Chances are the guy will be back again to purchase more scratchoffs.

                  He's got 6 months.

                  Do You Want To Win Today?  http://www.lotterypost.com/thread/286011

                    maringoman's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcTbRxpKQmOfcCoUqF2FyqIOAwDo7rg9G-lfJLAALPGWJWwiz19eRw
                    Massachusetts
                    United States
                    Member #37433
                    April 14, 2006
                    2747 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: May 4, 2015, 7:41 pm - IP Logged

                    I thought the terminal usually informs the clerk to inform the customer to file a claim at the lottery offices when the prize exceeds $600?  Maybe that's just in Massachusetts

                    That money's gone fo ever

                      Avatar
                      Maryland
                      United States
                      Member #162434
                      January 2, 2015
                      888 Posts
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                      Posted: May 4, 2015, 7:42 pm - IP Logged

                      What the hell? Most states, at least my state won't even give you a dollar amount over $500, it just tells you to contact the lottery office or something like that. This should never have happened. At least the clerk and owner were honest, so good on them. There should be no 6 month maximum time to reclaim his prize since the clerk screwed up, it should be held in a trust account until he is found, period. 

                      I agree, and this issue is WHY they do this.  No one wants the lottery agent seeing how much its worth.  They just need to know they can't cash it.

                        zephbe's avatar - animal butterfly.jpg
                        South Carolina
                        United States
                        Member #77167
                        July 15, 2009
                        555 Posts
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                        Posted: May 4, 2015, 8:19 pm - IP Logged

                        If the clerk had scanned the ticket it would not have given him an amount he was not authorized to pay out.  It would have referred the winner to the lottery office.  This sounds like a scam gone wrong. 

                        Every champion was once a contender who refused to give up.-Rocky Balboa

                        “Don’t let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of going after yours.” – Zig Ziglar

                          JAMORA's avatar - ladyclover
                          NC
                          United States
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                          February 28, 2015
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                          Posted: May 4, 2015, 8:20 pm - IP Logged

                          YEP! Saw that...lol...Lurking  Dude was undercover for the lottery!

                            lothob's avatar - chi jpeg.jpg

                            United States
                            Member #60481
                            April 20, 2008
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                            Posted: May 4, 2015, 8:32 pm - IP Logged

                            Yes, a very thorough investigation lol

                            "He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life."  Muhammad Ali