Lottery Winner From 2006 Awarded Stolen $5 Million Prize

The lottery winner duped out of his prize by the sons of a convenience store owner will finally receive his $5 million. Back in 2006, a man in Syracuse, N.Y. won the huge prize in a scratchoff game, but the cashiers on duty, the store owner’s sons, told him that he had only won $5,000. They bought the ticket from him for even less than that, then did nothing. For six years.

Maybe they assumed that he would forget. When they came forward with the winning ticket in 2012, lottery officials sensed shenanigans and put out a press release intended to smoke out people who might know something. The real winner came forward, and the brothers were arrested. One of them was sentenced to 8.3 to 25 years in prison for possession of stolen property.

If you win a large lottery jackpot, the first thing that you should do, even before you make 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, and many stores set their own limits that may be lower. After all, even the busiest convenience stores don’t keep $5 million in cash on hand. If you do cash in a smaller ticket at a retailer, don’t let them charge you a ticket-cashing fee.

For larger prizes, you need to visit your nearest lottery customer service center. If the prize is big enough, you’ll also get a press conference with a ceremonial oversized check.

Robert Miles awarded disputed $5 million lottery ticket [Syracuse Post-Standard] (Thanks, Arlene!)