A California man, who believed himself to be the lucky winner of a lottery prize on December 20th, has spent the last few weeks in limbo, wondering if he will ever get to collect.
The California resident, which has not been officially identified, bought a $30 scratch-off ticket in a grocery store in Vacaville, CA.
According to Lt. Chris Polen, spokesman of the Vacaville Police Department, the individual figured that the best case scenario was that any little bit over the cost of the scratcher he might win, would mean he would have a little extra holiday money in his pocket.
Playing his luck, the part-time restaurant worker began scratching away. It was then he realized that he had actually scratched his way to $10,000. According to Polen: “He still wasn’t sure so he went back to the same grocery store to have the staff confirm it and they said, ‘yes, you’re a winner,’”
The individual proceeded to head home and share the good news of his luck with is roommates. Before going to bed that night, he secured the winning scratcher in his pocket. Upon waking the next morning, he headed out to collect his winnings from the Sacramento branch of the Lottery’s District Office.
However, once arriving and presenting his ticket, the officials stated upon examination the ticket was in fact not a winner. On top of that, they stated the ticket appeared to have been altered to give the appearance that he had indeed won. It was at that very moment the individual suspected one of his roommates had actually stolen the winning ticket, replacing it with a fake. It was then the individual informed police of the theft and police confirmed the mans original instincts were right.
When the stolen ticket was presented to the Lottery officials by a roommate, it was discovered that the winning amount was not $10,000 but a whopping $10,000,000. The standard practice for paying out on lottery tickets, at least in California, is that anything over $600 is investigated before releasing the winnings. It was then that the Lottery’s District Office learned of the investigation into a stolen lottery ticket in Vacaville.
In the course of the investigation, authorities determined that the individual who claimed the ticket was his, was seen purchasing it as stated, by way of video surveillance. Some hours later, the suspected thief was seen in the same grocery store purchasing the same type of lottery scratch off.
The thief, identified as Saosongyang was subsequently arrested for grand theft and booked into the Sacramento Country Jail. According to the local authorities, Saosongyang does not yet have a lawyer.
So, what’s the verdict—you decide.
Is winning the lottery something you should probably keep to yourself until your winnings are collected?