Store clerk busted trying to scam undercover lottery investigator

Jan 24, 2018, 12:55 pm (44 comments)

Florida Lottery

Do you trust your store clerk with your lottery ticket?

Maybe you've won a few hundred bucks or more. Will the employee tell you — or pocket the ticket while telling you it's a loser?

That happened this week at a Fort Myers store, according to the Lee County Sheriff's Office. A Winn-Dixie Liquors employee is accused of keeping a customer's $600 winning ticket — and paying him only 5 bucks.

Crystelle Yvette Baton was charged with larceny grand theft on Monday.

Baton, 42, was caught because she scammed the wrong customer, cops say.

The man wasn't a customer — he was an agent working undercover for the Florida Lottery Commission's security division.

When the undercover agent approached Baton with the winning ticket, she scanned it and realized it was worth $600. But instead of telling the man, investigators said she quietly pulled $5 out of her purse and told the man that was the "winning" ticket's payoff.

Shortly after, the agent went back to the store to bust Baton. The winning ticket was found hidden in her notebook.

Seems the Lottery Commission makes these kind of random visits to sellers to make sure the games are played properly.

"Anyone that is working in a customer service job, you think that they are doing what is in your best interest. I would be very upset if someone took that from me," Winn-Dixie customer Nadina Puzic said.

A reader, posting on the NBC2 website on Wednesday, said the scam isn't unusual. "This is much more common than you would think. I put my name on the back always, and always notice when the cashier checks the back before she determines whether it won something or not. A favorite trick, pretend to throw ticket away after telling someone they did not win anything, and then when they leave, pull it out of the trash and collect."

Jacksonville-based Winn-Dixie responded with a statement:

"We are taking this matter very seriously as the trust and safety of our customers is our highest priority. The associate's employment has been terminated."

Baton posted a $5,000 bond on Tuesday. Her trial date is set for Feb. 26.

The lesson, even if it gnaws at you a bit for not trusting your fellow human: Make use of the Florida Lottery Commission's electronic checkers that are placed on the counters near the lottery machine. You'll save time, too, if there's a line.

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

Miami Herald

Comments

Bleudog101

Ain't she a sight for sore eyes?  No.

 

Too bad more states didn't have undercover operations or we just know know about them.  Can only recall a handful off the top of my head.

JADELottery

Minnesota has self check scanners.

No need to have a crooked store clerk "check" them.

If it's over $500, go to a local lottery office and collect.

If it's too high, the lottery officials may have to go to lottery headquarters to collect.

Slick Nick's avatarSlick Nick

This stuff has happened before. I hope the law gets harsher for this type of crime. Smash

noise-gate

Quote: Originally posted by Slick Nick on Jan 24, 2018

This stuff has happened before. I hope the law gets harsher for this type of crime. Smash

l bet that lottery investigator got an adrenaline rush when he nailed her. Why?.. in speaking to some cops, they said that if fellow officers are under fire & they are in pursuit to the scene, an adrenaline rush kicks in, its not asked for, it just flows in.

 

MsDiamond600's avatarMsDiamond600

Thank goodness CT has self ticket scanners. We also have an app to download to our phone to see if we are a winner.

Shame on her!!

MzDuffleBaglady's avatarMzDuffleBaglady

I had a similar experience.

I played the winning number, but, didn't get the ticket.

I still had my play slip, so I went back to the store, asked the clerk, where is my ticket?

He said,  "I don't have it"?  I said, I have the play slip with the winning number on it that I played, but, I don't have the ticket"?  I just left this store, so, check behind the machine.

He said, "It's not here".

I was like, I know you got that ticket, and I hope you needed it more than I did.

 

So, now, even if the line long, I stand there and check all my tickets ,and make sure they match my play slips.

It was a winning ticket, for, $350.00  off pick 3.

Good Luck

zephbe's avatarzephbe

Wonder how many times she did this before she got caught.  Somebody might have reported her. Glad they caught her. 

Bleudog101

Quote: Originally posted by MsDiamond600 on Jan 24, 2018

Thank goodness CT has self ticket scanners. We also have an app to download to our phone to see if we are a winner.

Shame on her!!

Excellent point!

 

Maybe the self checking scanner wasn't on-line or working.  We like to play in Indiana and more often than not the scanner is conveniently not working in the greater New Albany, IN stores.  Then you give it to the clerk to check...

music*'s avatarmusic*

Now Crystelle Yvette Baton will be working in a rat hole of a store in the seedy side of town. That is if she gets hired. It will take years to correct her employment history. No No

 Why would any LP Member not use USAMEGA and Lottery Post to check their numbers?

On toward a billion dollar jackpot!

jacintasc

Every Winn Dixie in FL I've been to have self scanners. Also if a winning ticket is scanned by a cashier the terminal will make CHACHING! sound. Whenever the self scanners are down. I go to another store! So many stores in Florida!

tdups's avatartdups

florida lotto needs to put a better system in place. when the clerk scans the tickets i want to hear music playing and winner or not a winner the screen. its there but not noticeable enough . ontario has it and its hard to not noticed you won or lose.

JAMORA's avatarJAMORA

Quote: Originally posted by tdups on Jan 24, 2018

florida lotto needs to put a better system in place. when the clerk scans the tickets i want to hear music playing and winner or not a winner the screen. its there but not noticeable enough . ontario has it and its hard to not noticed you won or lose.

They turn down the volume so you don't hear the music of a winning ticket....

noise-gate

Quote: Originally posted by MzDuffleBaglady on Jan 24, 2018

I had a similar experience.

I played the winning number, but, didn't get the ticket.

I still had my play slip, so I went back to the store, asked the clerk, where is my ticket?

He said,  "I don't have it"?  I said, I have the play slip with the winning number on it that I played, but, I don't have the ticket"?  I just left this store, so, check behind the machine.

He said, "It's not here".

I was like, I know you got that ticket, and I hope you needed it more than I did.

 

So, now, even if the line long, I stand there and check all my tickets ,and make sure they match my play slips.

It was a winning ticket, for, $350.00  off pick 3.

Good Luck

So you played, paid for your ticket, but didn't get it? Hmmm.

tdups's avatartdups

Quote: Originally posted by JAMORA on Jan 24, 2018

They turn down the volume so you don't hear the music of a winning ticket....

oh ok thanks they must have ! i did not know.

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