BROCKTON - Lakeville liquor store clerk Carly Nunes has pleaded not guilty to charges thata $3 million winning lottery ticket that a customer left behind.
Police arrested Nunes Tuesday morning in Brockton after she failed to show up to a June 12 arraignment. A Brockton Superior Court judge ordered her held on $10,000 cash bail on charges including larceny from a building, attempted larceny, presentation of a false claim and witness intimidation.
Prosecutors say Nunes, 23, went to Massachusetts State Lottery headquarters on January 19 to collect the money on a Mega Millions quick pick that was purchased by a customer, Paul Little, two days earlier at the Lakeville Liquors & Market, formerly known as Savas Liquors. Little added a multiplier to his Mega Millions tickets to increase the jackpot prize.
Little bought a bag of chips as well as lottery tickets, but accidentally left the tickets in the lottery tray. After leaving the store, he searched for the tickets but assumed he lost them.
About 45 minutes later, another customer bought lottery tickets and noticed there were two extra tickets bought by Little. She gave them to Nunes, prosecutors said.
"Nunes took the tickets and said they must have belonged to 'him,' meaning the victim," Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz said in a statement.
A co-worker, 32-year-old Joseph Reddem, drove Nunes to Dorchester to collect the prize. But Lottery officials became suspicious when the winning ticket was torn and burned, and surveillance video captured Nunes and Reddem arguing over money.
"Reddem allegedly made demands of the jackpot and Nunes informed Reddem that she would 'only pay him $200,000,'" prosecutors said. Reddem is charged with attempted extortion.
Nunes told Massachusetts Lottery investigators that she purchased the ticket toward the end of her shift, and it burned when she accidentally put it on a pipe. Surveillance video from the store confirmed the ticket was purchased by the victim. Nunes later admitted that she did not purchase the ticket herself.
Lottery officials say it took a month, but they tracked down Little by posting flyers in the Lakeville area. Paul Little is expected to collect his winnings on Friday.
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