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Clerk free on bail in lottery ticket case

Mega MillionsMega Millions: Clerk free on bail in lottery ticket case

A Cook County judge set bail at $25,000 Wednesday for a Chicago Board Options Exchange clerk accused of swiping her co-workers' winning $175,000 lottery ticket.

But Dora Leal's attorney insisted the clerk thought the Mega Millions ticket was worth less than $10 and that there was no chicanery intended -- she just misplaced the ticket.

"This is completely out of her character," attorney Robert Kuzas said after her bond hearing. "She's very distraught over this."

Police charged Leal, 44, of North Spaulding Avenue, with felony theft for allegedly pocketing the ticket on Dec. 31. A group of 16 CBOE traders had given Leal a stack of tickets to take to a nearby store to check for winners. She returned all of the tickets except for the winner, police said.

Birju Shah, the owner of the store that sold the ticket, has said Leal was told the ticket's value and was taken into a back office, where Leal signed the ticket's back. It was then photocopied at the store, along with a receipt showing it was a $175,000 winner.

Leal isn't disputing that the ticket belongs to the traders. Kuzas said she would sign an affidavit attesting to its rightful ownership.

Nonetheless, the ticket is missing, Kuzas said.

That could send the case into a civil courtroom because the state, short of a court order, needs the actual ticket to pay the winnings. To get a court order, the traders would have to sue to force the state into paying, said lottery spokesman Anne Plohr Rayhill.

What exactly happened to the ticket is a mystery, Kuzas insists.

"The only thing I can say without equivocation is she does not have the ticket," Kuzas said. "It could have been someone kept it at the store or someone took it out of her pocket. There are myriad possibilities."

When the ticket came up a winner Dec. 31, several people at the store saw it happen, and word quickly got back to the traders at the CBOE. When Leal didn't return with the ticket, they began to hound her about it, witnesses said.

Kuzas said Leal has felt that the CBOE traders and employees are like family. The incident hasn't altered her opinion, Kuzas said.

"What they feel about her does not in any way change what she feels about them," he said.

Leal appeared in a West Side courtroom via closed-circuit television for her hearing. She did not speak as Judge Raymond Myles set her bail.

Her husband, two daughters and sister went to court but left without commenting. Leal made bail Wednesday night.

Chicago Sun Times

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4 comments. Last comment 13 years ago by Bug.
Page 1 of 1
BabyJC's avatar - Lottery-031.jpg

United States
Member #3271
January 7, 2004
148 Posts
Posted: January 8, 2004, 11:37 am - IP Logged

Another disgusting thief and liar!  This woman is low; so many lies and fabrications.  And trying to butter everyone up by saying she thinks of them as family so they drop everything - Please!  Don't even try to take the focus of the criminal actions.  The reason she won't hand over the ticket is because it is damning evidence showing that she fraudently signed the back of the ticket  saying that she was the owner. 

She and Elecia should share a cell together!

    fja's avatar - gnome1

    United States
    Member #91
    January 19, 2002
    11906 Posts
    Posted: January 8, 2004, 2:59 pm - IP Logged

    yep this is getting a little out of hand, she must be trying to get herself a cut of that prize, and shes going to roll the dice...for all its worth.  probably didnt realize that the guys had made copies of the ticket either... 

    "Everybody has to believe in something...I believe I'll have another beer!"   = W.C.Fields                      

      hypersoniq's avatar - 8ball
      United States
      Member #1340
      April 6, 2003
      2450 Posts
      Posted: January 8, 2004, 3:22 pm - IP Logged

      The REAL question is, who would send ANYONE NOT involved in the cut to cash in a ticket? Hope they are better traders...

      Playing more than one ticket per game is betting against yourself.

        Bug's avatar - avatar php?userid=678402&dateline=1071851147

        United States
        Member #788
        October 15, 2002
        471 Posts
        Posted: January 9, 2004, 12:54 am - IP Logged


        I need some popcorn for this one. I bet the store owner is in on it.