Cashier Allegedly Scammed Lottery Winner Out Of $5 Million Ticket, Waited 6 Years To Cash It In

A maintenance worker in Syracuse, N.Y. claims that he won $5 million on an instant lottery ticket. He took it back to the store where he had purchased it, and the store owner’s son told him that he had only won $5,000. The man offered him for $4,000 in cash for the ticket. The store owner’s two sons sat on the ticket for six years, then turned it in to the state lottery. The lottery sensed that something was not right here.

To smoke out the shenanigans, the state lottery planted a story in the media. They didn’t lie, exactly, but they kind of lied. They gave information in a news release that’s usually reserved for lottery-winner press conferences, and the release just didn’t look like a normal lottery-winner-update sent out to local media. It gave out too much information, and set no press conference date. Veteran newspeeps suspected that something was up.

Something was. The store owner’s sons claimed that they had kept their lottery win quiet because, as Muslims, they’re forbidden from gambling. How does waiting for six years solve that problem?

Meanwhile, the convenience store at the center of the scandal has lost its license to sell lottery tickets.

If you win a large lottery jackpot, the first thing that you should do, even before making a generous donation to your favorite consumer affairs blog, is sign the back of the ticket. You also shouldn’t necessarily go back to the store where the ticket was purchased to cash it in, unless you want to share the good news. In New York, where this story happened, retailers can only give out prizes up to $600: for anything bigger, you need to go to a lottery customer service center. If the prize is big enough, you’ll also get a press conference with a ceremonial oversized check.

Two Brothers from Onondaga County Claim $5,000,000 Lottery Scratch-Off Prize [Press Release]
From the start, lottery hinted something was odd about Ashkar brothers’ $5 million ticket [Post-Standard]
Will victim in lottery scam case get his $5 million? Robert Miles, here’s some hope
[Post-Standard]
False info in NY lottery led to arrest in $5M scam [AP]

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