Cops: $1M lottery winner cheated by NY store owner and son

(CBS) HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. - A man who won a $1 million New York State Lottery jackpot found himself out of luck when he tried to redeem the winning ticket at a Long Island convenience store, which led to the arrest of the store owner and his son, CBS New York reported.

Nabil Jaghab, 57, owner of the Peninsula Deli & Grocery in Hempstead - and his son and clerk, Karim Jaghab, 26 -  were both charged with grand larceny for trying to cheat a lottery winner out of almost all of his prize money, Nassau County police said Saturday.

Police said a 34-year-old man who did not speak English walked into the convenience store on Thursday and bought a $10 “Unwrap the Cash” scratch-off lottery ticket. He thought he’d won and handed the ticket to the clerk, police said.

According to CBS New York, Karim Jaghab scanned the ticket and received a message from the state lottery reading, “File claim: jackpot winner – please return original ticket to the customer along with a claim receipt,” police said, meaning the man had won the $1 million jackpot.

But the clerk didn’t give the ticket back and didn’t tell the man he had won the jackpot – instead, police say, he told the winner he had only won $1,000, which he then paid the man in cash.

But the ticket-holder had his doubts, and returned to the store the next day. CBS New York reports that Karim Jaghab told him, “OK, I will pay you $10,000 as long as you don’t involve the police.”

Police say the owner Nabil Jaghab, who was present at the time, also insisted to the man that he had only won $10,000.  But the ticket-holder wasn’t buying it, and did indeed call the cops.

Hempstead and Nassau county police took the winning ticket and verified that it was indeed worth $1 million. They concluded that the father and son had tried to cheat the victim out of the money and claim the winnings for themselves.

Police also said Jaghabs failed to comply with a policy requiring any prize of more than $600 or more to be redeemed at a New York State Lottery office, rather than in cash at the place of purchase.

Father and son - owner and clerk - both of East Meadow, were arrested without incident,  police said, and bail was set at $75,000 for both defendants.

The Jaghabs’ attorney, Matthew Fleischer, said in court that the lottery machine at the store was not working properly.