It’s comforting to know that there are people out there in the lottery industry who care about fairness and the safe distribution of prizes to winners. This story in particular speaks of an investigator who went undercover to check that the store in question was operating legally and giving winners the correct amount of money won. Read further to discover what happened with the store in question and a ticket worth $75,000.
The Lottery winner who was given $75 instead of $75,000 was actually an undercover inspector for the lottery commission. A Palmdale petrol station was placed under investigation when a lottery ticket that was supposed to give the winner a $75,000 reward, who was actually the inspector, only got him $75 in cash. The official is an undercover investigator for a Californian lottery commission.
Upon reviewing the surveillance of the petrol station security cameras, they found the video of the purported winner on Saturday in an effort to identify the man and reward him his rightful earnings, the station’s manager said. There were various Los Angeles-area news outlets that ran the story, reporting that this gas station in particular was trying to find the winner of the $75,000 cash prize.
What the video actually shows is an undercover investigator from the Californian Lottery on an inspection stop, according to a man named Russel Lopez who is a spokesperson for the lottery itself.
Lopez said that there wasn’t actually a ‘winner’. A still from camera footage taken at the petrol station in Palmdale shows a man with a lucky $75,000 ticket on the 25th of March, 2015.
The footage was taken from behind the register. The video shows a man wearing a short-sleeved shirt and a backwards baseball cap waiting as the clerk checks the ticket and hands over the cash. The interaction took only a few minutes.
“Since the store held onto the ticket, it appears the ticket was mishandled,” Lopez said in a brief statement to the KTLA. He further added, “We are currently investigating the case.”
The Californian State Lottery Act requires year-round compliance checks “to protect our business, our players, and also our retailer,” said Lopez. Compliance should always be at least 98%, meaning all retailers “act with integrity and honesty,” Lopez further added.
The Chevron station manager Shamsun Islam said that he realized his mistake after the winner had already left the shop.
“He feels so bad,” Islam said of the clerk. The $75,000 winning lotto ticket remained at the store after the player had left it with the clerk.
The ticket was for the top prize in the Wild West Poker Scratchers game. Players have a one in 1,196,120 chance of winning this $75,000 prize.
“I spoke to him, the clerk. I showed him the video,” said Shamsun Islam. He said, “Okay this is a true mistake.”
After surveying the camera footage of the incident, the clerk immediately called Islam, who in turn called her boss. Her boss then instructed her to call California Lottery officials. Islam said lottery officials would come by to pick up the ticket.
Several weeks had passed, and no player had come to claim their winning ticket. One of the lottery commissioners reached out to news media to find the man who won the prize and needed to claim his sum of $75,000.
Islam said, “I tried my best.” No determination has been made so far as to the intent of the petrol station manager or clerk. Lopez told the Los Angeles Times that officials were trying to find out if authorities were ever notified about the ticket, and if any fraud was actually committed.
Before Shamsun had taking it upon himself to go to the public with the surveillance footage, officials had been waiting to see if anyone would try to file a claim on the $75,000 ticket, the Times reported.
Islam, in the meanwhile, urged lottery players to always fill out the fields for name and contact info on their tickets in case they have won and misplaced it.
What do you think really happened? Do you think the store is lying and trying to take the money? Or were they being honest?
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