Check your own lottery tickets - convenience store owners steal $12.5 million

A family that owns a convenience store stole a free ticket from a lottery player, and the ticket they stole turned out to be a $12.5 million winner, which this family claimed as their own. The family that stole the ticket are all having charges brought against them now and have had their assets seized, and they’re looking for the real winners now - can you imagine that? Finding out that the ticket you thought was a dud (like all the rest of them) turned out to have been the 12.5 million dollar winner, seven years ago? And the store owners stole it from you? I don’t know if I’d be thrilled by the win, angry at the theft, or a bit of both (mostly thrilled, though, I think). I’d probably think about those seven years of living when 12.5 mil would have made a huge difference, but I don’t think I’d dwell on it - done is done.

Seven years ago? One would think that the statute of limitations would have run out by now.

In Texas, if the prize isn’t claimed within six months of the drawing, it goes back into the pool and you are SOL if you show up with a winning ticket after that cutoff date.

It WAS claimed, you can’t hold it against the person whose ticket was stolen.

I can’t imagine how they hope to find the original owner, though.

I ALWAYS worried about this, which is why I was so happy when California came up with the readers you can use yourself. Previously I would always insist on seeing the screen or getting the ticket back.

What the family did was wrong and they deserve criminal charges. That being said I thought of doing that many, many times when I worked in a convenience store. Usually this was triggered by the customers who’d get at least 20-30 tickets, never bother trying to check them themselves*, and insist it was our job to do it no matter how many other customers were waiting.

*I can see how this would be hard for some people; what with the daily winning numbers being televised, published in the local paper, online, or on the sign in the window of our store and scratch-off tickets saying right on the ticket whether it was a winner. :smack: Or use the little self-ticket checker terminal we got from the Lottery Commision. The one on the other side of the counter with a sign saying “Check your lotter tickets”.

That’s just how lady luck rolls.

This was discovered due to the investigation into a Toronto case from several years ago. An older couple played the same numbers each week and noticed a few days after the clerk had told them their ticket lost that those numbers had won. Since then they’ve been investigating any retailer wins and the lottery commission has put a TON of new rules in place to make sure it can’t happen again.

Lottery retailers in Canada now cannot scan unsigned tickets, there are self scan machines in many locations, the lottery terminal sings a winning ticket is scanned, if a winning ticket over a certain amount is scanned the terminal is locked down and someone from their provincial lottery corporation calls to talk to them about how to claim their prize and the biggest one - a quiz when you go to collect your prize. You need to know where and when you bought the ticket in order to prove ownership. Oh and there are limits on lottery retailers too. They can now only buy and redeem lottery tickets at locations they do not own or work at.

It’s not that you couldn’t protect yourself in the past but you had to be fairly alert to do so.

This happened to a man (with the unlikely name of Willis Willis) from Grand Prairie (between Dallas and Fort Worth) about a year ago: The clerk stole his lottery winnings then fled to his native Nepal. There’s been some success seizing bank accounts.

Happened recently in Queens, NY. Clerk tried to trick a 72 year old winner out of $14 million.

Michigan lottery centers have installed self scanners . Of course if you show a big win, you still have to get out of there alive.

It’s not like Vegas where the sirens go off when you hit the jackpot. Just sign the back like it says and you got a pretty good defense that it’s yours. Also, whose to say that if you found a winner on the street and picked it up and it turned out to be a big winner that it wasn’t rightfully yours. Is there some test that you must pass where you must state where you purchased the ticket?

One of the few times I’d say taking the lump sum is a good idea.

What is this all about?

She was standing right there. Why not take the free ticket?

Presumably the clerk told the person that it didn’t win anything, and then used the free play ticket themself.

If you’re not stupid with money, taking the lump sum is always a better idea, because you can get better investment returns than what you would get from the annuity. (The lump sum offer is basically however much it would cost for the lottery people to buy an annuity that pays out the full jackpot after however many years. So it’s all the same to them.)

Why on earth would you take a jackpot ticket to a convenience store? Find the address of the local lottery commission and take it straight there.

At the very least, if you don’t get the numbers on TV, online, or in the newspaper, find a place that prints out the daily numbers and snag a copy for yourself to verify the numbers before redeeming it. That little lottery ticket is potentially as valuable as a Wonka Golden Ticket and should never be handed off to someone else.

It wasn’t a jackpot ticket. It was taken to the convenience to see what it won, which was a free ticket. The free ticket, which the owners kept for themselves, was the jackpot ticket.

Terribly sorry, I should have been clearer. I was responding after reading Annie-Xmas’ link, not the OP’s.

From the linked article -

Yeah, you damned well are. Big, fat cheaters who got caught with their fingers in someone else’s till.

On the plus side, people scanning their own tickets should speed up the lines at convenience stores. :smiley:

I don’t fully understand what’s going on here, maybe because I don’t know how the Ontario lottery works. In Virginia, and most of the other places I know about, you pick 5 or 6 numbers or however many, based on the game, and then, based on how many numbers you match, you win money or maybe you win a free ticket, which you then take back to the store to cash in. If you didn’t, you don’t go back to the store. You just throw the ticket out our whatever. They show the winning numbers on the nightly news and print them in the paper and put them on the website, so you know if you won.

So, wouldn’t the person who won the free ticket already know they won before they went to the video store?

I believe some people don’t look up the numbers, they just take the tickets back to the store and have the clerk scan each one.