Lottery winner Robert Miles is not sure whether he will be able to collect the $5 million that was stolen from him by two store clerks six years ago. The fraud recently came to light after the brothers who stole the ticket waited six years and presented the ticket days before it would have expired. Two years ago a New York City man had a similar problem and his story may give Miles some hops.
Milledge McCassell purchased a lottery ticket at a deli in Queens. McCassell did not sign the back of the ticket. He then handed it to the clerk and asked him to check the prize amount. When McCassell asked the clerk to return the ticket the clerk said he had thrown it out and couldn’t find it. McCassell immediately went to another retailer, and together they filed a complaint with the lottery. The state investigated McCassell’s case and interviewed store workers and examined “proprietary data” from the store’s lottery terminal. By the end of the day McCassell had his ticket back and it was worth a cool $14 million.
In Miles’s case the scammers waited six years before he and his brother tried to claim the scratch off jackpot. So far Miles has not talked to lottery officials but is hoping he will be able to claim the jackpot. There is another case that may reassure Miles. In Saratoga New York the winner of a $10,000 jackpot almost got taken by a store clerk. The clerk claimed he had thrown the customer’s tickets away because none was a winner. Later on the man became suspicious and returned to the store and demanded his tickets. The store clerk repeated the same lie and came forward later to claim the money.
Lottery spokeswoman Carolyn Hapeman said “We were able to trace it back to that winner. We did it with standard lottery security procedures and our own internal database of ticket transactions.” Hapemen would not reveal what types of security the lottery uses to ferret out cheats and thieves. Miles has a reasonable chance of getting his jackpot. Prosecutors say that all of the lottery documents support his story.