Two employees at a Massachusetts liquor store have been charged after allegedly stealing a customer’s winning lottery ticket and trying to cash in the $3 million prize.
“Two people have been indicted on charges that they schemed to steal a winning lottery ticket and attempted to cash it in at Massachusetts State Lottery Headquarters,” stated Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy.
According to the statement, a man (who is not being identified) went to the store formerly known as Savas Liquors at 330 Bedford Street in Lakeville on January 17, 2023. While there, he bought a bag of barbecue potato chips and several lottery tickets: two Massachusetts State Lottery Quick Picks for the Mega Millions lottery and two for the Mass Cash lottery. He also added a multiplier to his Mega Millions ticket, an option that would increase the winner’s jackpot prize.
Store clerk Carly Nunes, 23, printed the lottery tickets, returned to the cash register, and rang up the man’s order, which came out to $12. However, although the man took his potato chips with him, he forgot his tickets in the lottery terminal tray.
Around forty-five minutes after the man left, another customer arrived to buy five lottery tickets. The customer noticed the two tickets that belonged to the victim and gave them back to Nunes.
It turned out that one of the tickets left behind by the victim was a winner during the January 17 draw: the ticket matched the winning numbers, which meant a jackpot worth US$3 million.
“After leaving the store and realizing he no longer had his tickets, the man briefly searched for them but concluded that they were lost,” reads the statement.
However, his tickets weren’t lost.
Two days later, Savas employee Joseph Reddem, 32, drove Nunes and her boyfriend to the lottery headquarters to claim the lottery prize. When Nunes submitted her claim, it was noted that the ticket appeared torn and burned.
“A state lottery customer service representative scanned the ticket and determined the worth to be ‘three million dollars,'” reads the statement. “When informed, Nunes and her boyfriend embraced and celebrated.”
However, lottery officials became suspicious when they overheard an argument between Reddem and Nunes. Nunes allegedly told Reddem that she would “only pay him $200,000” after he allegedly “made demands of the jackpot.”
When interviewed by lottery investigators, Nunes said that she bought the ticket at the end of her shift on January 17. When asked about the condition of the ticket, she explained that she had accidentally torn the ticket while removing it from her wallet and burned it after placing the ticket on a pipe. Lottery officials then told her they were opening an investigation and contacted Massachusetts State Police.
A four-month investigation ensued, with authorities finding out through the store’s surveillance videos that the ticket was actually purchased by the victim. The man only realized one month later that he had left his ticket at the store.
Using screen grabs of surveillance videos and flyers, authorities tried to locate the man. Nearly a month later, they located him on February 13 and he was interviewed by investigators. The man was then informed that he would be receiving the $3 million jackpot.
Nunes, 23, has been charged with one count each of larceny from a building, attempted larceny, presentation of a false claim, and witness intimidation. Reddem has been charged with one count of Attempted extortion.
Nunes and Reddem will be arraigned on the indictments at a later date.
In Canada, a Manitoba store employee accused of stealing lottery tickets over a four-year period has been ordered to pay back losses worth $425,755.92.