It's the phrase everybody who buys lottery tickets wants to hear: "Jackpot winner."
And those exact words were connected with one such ticket purchased at a convenience store a few days ago. The lucky customer was indeed a little richer: To the tune of one million dollars.
Except he never knew it — not right away at least.
Police said the 34-year-old customer, who doesn't speak English very well, bought a $10 “Unwrap the Cash” scratch-off ticket at the Peninsula Grocery & Deli on Long Island, N.Y. Thursday. He noticed he won...but not how much.
So, police said, the man handed his winning ticket to 26-year-old store clerk Karim Jaghab, noted WCBS-TV in New York.
Jaghab scanned it and police said this message from the New York State Lottery came back: “File claim: jackpot winner – please return original ticket to the customer along with a claim receipt." Which meant the man scored a $1 million jackpot, police said.
But Jaghab had other ideas.
Police said Jaghab instead told the man that he was a winner — of $1,000. He even paid the guy in cash, police added.
But the man became suspicious and returned to the store the following day...and it gets even better. Jaghab told him, “Okay, I will pay you $10,000 as long as you don’t involve the police," WCBS said.
Store owner Nabil Jaghab, 57 and the clerk's dad, was there and insisted to the ticket winner that he only actually won $10,000, police reported.
Luckily for the man he still smelled a rat and called police.
Hempstead and Nassau county police took the winning ticket and found that it was worth $1 million, WCBS reported, adding that police figured the Jaghabs intended to claim the winnings.
The Jaghabs were arrested on charges of grand larceny, Nassau County police said Saturday. Their attorney, Matthew Fleischer, said in court that the store's lottery machine was not working properly, WCBS said.
Here's a report from Newsy: