A Massachusetts store worker who went on the lam after being accused of the theft of a customer’s $3 million lottery ticket pleaded not guilty to related charges this week, MassLive reports.
Carly Nunes, 23, aroused the suspicion of lottery officials when she presented a torn and burnt winning ticket at Lottery HQ in Dorchester, Mass. in May.
She went missing for two weeks after she was indicted on June 12 for charges that included larceny from a building, presentation of a false claim, and witness intimidation.
Nunes was apprehended on June 27 and appeared in Brockton Superior Court the same day, where she was held on $10,000 cash bail.
Tickets Left Behind
Nunes worked at the store formerly known as Savas Liquors in Lakeville, 40 miles south of Boston. In January 2023, a customer, now named as Paul Little, walked into the store and purchased two Massachusetts State Lottery Quick Picks for the Mega Millions lottery, and two for the Mass Cash lottery, a subsequent lottery commission investigation discovered.
But Little left his tickets in the tray at the checkout counter, which was at the time manned by Nunes. She noticed the tickets in the tray around 45 minutes later and fished them out, according to prosecutors. Later that night, one of the tickets matched the numbers of the Mega Million draw for a $3 million prize.
Two days later, another Savas Liquors employee, Joseph Reddem, drove Nunes and her boyfriend to Dorchester to claim the prize.
But along with the suspicious damage to the ticket, lottery officials overheard Nunes arguing with Reddem in the lobby. Reddem was allegedly demanding half the jackpot, while Nunes replied that she would only pay him $200K, according to prosecutors.
Real Winner Oblivious
Lottery officials interviewed Nunes, who claimed she bought the ticket after she finished her shift. She said she accidently tore it when taking it out of her wallet and the burn marks were the result of inadvertently placing it on a hot pipe.
Lottery investigators subsequently reviewed video footage from the store, which showed that Little was the real winner.
Little, who will receive the full $3 million, was eventually tracked down a month later after lottery officials canvassed the Lakeville area with screen grab shots of the surveillance video.
He had searched for his tickets when he got home, without success, but gave the matter no more thought. He was oblivious that one of the tickets had won until being informed by lottery officials.
Reddem has also been charged in the case and has pleaded not guilty to one count of attempted extortion, the district attorney’s office said.
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