Store clerk pocketed money from customer’s winning ticket.
NEW YORK: Two people, Yogesh Jayantibhai Patel, 47, and Minaben Yogesh Patel, 50, were arrested after they allegedly stole winning tickets from detectives in a North Carolina lottery sting.
A detective presented a winning ticket at Ken’s Quickie Mart, 305 W. Main St., in Gibsonville, according to warrants, reported the News & Record.
The clerk, Yogesh Jayantibhai Patel, 47, of 2405 Vanstory St., ran the Bonus Crossword Game ticket through the computer. Although the computer made a tone, indicating the ticket was a $1,000 winner, Patel told the detective it was a loser, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office said, the report said.
Yogesh Patel and Minaben Patel, 50, of the same address, cashed in the ticket the next day, deputies said. They were later arrested.
The N.C. Education Lottery pays out about $2.6 million a day and sells tickets at 6,800 locations, reported the Record. And it often relies on local law enforcement officials to help make sure that money is going where it’s supposed to.
The recent Gibsonville sting was part of a joint operation between the lottery and the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office.
Van Denton, a spokesman for the state lottery, declined to comment on what prompted that sting, citing the ongoing investigation.
If a retailer is found to be stealing or otherwise engaging in fraudulent behavior, it can automatically lose the right to sell lottery tickets, the report said. Denton said that hasn’t happened in the Gibsonville case, as it was an employee, rather than an owner, who is suspected of stealing.
Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Reese, who prosecutes many of Guilford County’s financial crimes, said she knows of only about 10 lottery-related cases that have come through the local district attorney’s office over the past three years, said the Record.
Most involve store employees stealing bundles of lottery tickets and scratching them off in hopes of finding winners. He also said that for prizes of more than $50, a musical tone should sound when the ticket is scanned.