Liquor store clerk accused of stealing $3 million in lottery tickets
A Massachusetts store clerk and her co-worker have been charged with stealing $3 million in lottery tickets left behind by a customer.
Last week, a grand jury returned indictments against 23-year-old Carly Nunes on one count of burglary from a building, attempted robbery, presenting a false claim and witness intimidation, the Plymouth District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
His colleague, 32-year-old Joseph Radem, was charged with one count of attempted extortion, prosecutors said. The pair are expected to be sentenced at a later undisclosed date.
An investigation revealed that an unknown person entered a Lakeville liquor store on Jan. 17 and purchased four lottery tickets as well as a bag of barbecue potato chips — two for the Massachusetts State Lottery Quick Picks the Mega Millions lottery and two for the Mass Cash Lottery — prosecutors said.
The man added a multiplier to his Mega Millions ticket to increase the jackpot prize, and Nunes, who was working the checkout counter, placed the order and printed two lottery tickets, prosecutors said. He returned to the cash register and called up the victim’s $12 order, but he left the store without his lottery ticket, according to prosecutors.
Plymouth County DA
Forty-five minutes after the man left his ticket, Nunes called another customer who had bought five lottery tickets. The second customer realized he had been given two extra tickets and returned them to Nunes, prosecutors said.
“Nunes took the tickets and said they must be ‘his,’ meaning the victim”.
The man who left the tickets behind briefly looked for them but then assumed he had lost them. Later that evening, his Mass Millions ticket number was announced as the winning number for the $3 million jackpot, proctors said.
Two days later, Reddem drove Nunes and her boyfriend to Massachusetts State Lottery headquarters, where the ticket, which was determined to be “torn and burned,” was worth $3 million.
When informed of its value, “Nunes and her boyfriend celebrated by hugging,” prosecutors said. But shortly after, Nunes and Reddem were heard arguing over how much money Reddem would get, with Nunes telling her he would “only pay her $200,000,” according to prosecutors.
Because of the argument and the conditions of the ticket, Massachusetts Lottery investigators decided to interview Nunes.
Nunes told investigators he bought the winning tickets at the end of his shift on Jan. 17 and said the condition of the tickets was caused by an accidental tear when they were removed from his wallet. He said the burn marks were because he accidentally left the ticket on a pipe, prosecutors said.
“Lottery officials informed Nunes that they were opening an investigation and that he would receive the jackpot prize at the conclusion of that investigation,” prosecutors said. “Lottery officials have contacted the Massachusetts State Police and an investigation has begun.”
Investigators discovered surveillance footage that confirmed Nunes did not purchase the winning ticket. In a later interview, Nunes changed his story and said he had “unintentionally” received the winning ticket.
Investigators worked for a month to find the man who left his winning ticket behind, finally finding him on Feb. 13, prosecutors said.
The Massachusetts State Lottery Commission said it intends to honor the man’s claim for the $3 million jackpot.