Lottery tickets, especially million-dollar jackpots, are no small thing to have stolen from someone. Yet, on Thursday, that is what happened to a winner of a scratch-off lottery ticket worth $1 million. According to sources, a 34-year-old man purchased the winning lottery ticket game from a deli in Hempstead, N.Y. and now both the owner of the deli and his 26-year-old son are behind bars for cheating the winner.
Reports by Nassau County police say that the customer went to Peninsula Deli & Grocery, at 462 Peninsula Blvd. to purchase the ticket. He scratched it off, saw that he won $1 million and turned the ticket over to the store owner’s son, Karim Jaghab, to collect his fortune. However, the younger Jaghab apparently had other intentions in mind. He gave the customer $1,000 in cash and retained the ticket.
Authorities say that the customer returned to the deli on Friday; Jaghab and his father Nabil Jaghab, 57, attempted to give the lottery ticket winner $10,000.
Police arrested the two Jaghabs and on Saturday, they were arraigned on grand larceny charges. According to court documents, the Jaghabs claimed to police that this was a mistake and that they had tossed the ticket in the trash. Their attorney alleges that this was a simple mistake on a payout from a lottery machine, reported Newsday.
The good news is that the winner of the $1 million lottery ticket got his stolen ticket back when it proved recovered.
However, thieves seem to be on the loose these days in search of as many lottery scratch-off tickets as they can get their hands on. In other parts of the U.S., according to reports, two men in Baxter County, AR. robbed the Snappy Mart Convenience Store on Wednesday and took off with 1,116 lottery tickets. The tickets were all scratch-offs valued at $2,725. David Scott Albretch, 30, of Whiteville and Garrett Dean Marler, 20, of Lakeview now are in jail, pending charges on burglary of the store in Lakeview and theft of lottery tickets.
Albretch and Marler scratched-off some of the tickets, found that 21 of them were winners and then attempted to cash them in at various stores. They had no idea the Lottery Commission had been privy to the robbery. Turning the tickets over to the retailers were the mistake, as the winning scratch-offs had been marked as stolen and that the suspects would not be able to redeem them.
Marler attempted several times on Wednesday and Thursday at separate locations to redeem the lottery tickets, but each time went denied. According to the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office, a woman reported on Thursday that Albretch sold her four lottery tickets, which he had scratched off and that when she went to a convenience store in Gassville to redeem the tickets, the store clerk alerted her that the tickets had been reported stolen.
Upon performing a search at the home of Albretch, sheriff’s deputies found the lottery tickets. Additionally, the identifying numbers on them matched those that the store reported stolen. During the investigation, officers also located Marler and arrested him.
According to reports, Baxter County Detention Center is detaining Albrecht and his bail has been set at $790. He received misdemeanor charges linked to theft of receiving and contempt of court. Marler’s bail has been set to $35,000. He received felony charges of commercial burglary, theft of property and 24 counts of lottery fraud.
In the case of the stolen and returned $1 million lottery ticket, only the customer was the true winner. The other four men should have had a dollar and a dream.
By Christina L. Ibbotson