A jury recommended Tuesday that a former convenience store clerk should receive $8 million because her boss allegedly cheated her out of a winning lottery ticket worth millions, attorneys said.
Arwa Farraj was given about $3.98 million for the value of the ticket and $3.98 million for emotional distress in the verdict against the Circle K store chain and her former boss, Gurinder Ruby. The value of the ticket was based on the actual amount before taxes plus accruing interest, attorneys said.
Jurors deliberated for a day after the trial, which began Sept. 17 in Superior Court, and found the defendants liable for fraud and conversion.
"I am grateful to the jury for seeing the truth and for declaring me the rightful owner of the winning lottery ticket," said Farraj, a Jordanian who immigrated to the United States in 1992, in a statement issued by her attorneys. "As a newcomer to the United States, I really have faith in how the American justice system works."
Farraj claimed she bought a Quick Pick California SuperLotto ticket on Christmas Day in 1999 while working as a clerk at a La Verne store.
Ruby allegedly tricked her into believing the ticket was worth $88 instead of $8 million, then cashed it in and received about $2.56 million after taxes, Farraj's attorneys said. Circle K received a $40,000 commission for being the winning store, her lawyers said.
Calls to attorneys representing Ruby and Circle K were not immediately returned Tuesday night.
Pierce O'Donnell, representing Circle K Stores, Inc., said previously his client "is not responsible for this alleged theft."
Ruby's attorney, Stanford Horn, had maintained the jackpot belongs to his client.