Manchester shop worker guilty of lottery fraud

lottery winner's luxuriesEdmond Terakopian/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A shop worker who tried to defraud a 77-year-old out of a £1 million lottery win was jailed after standard checks proved he could not possibly have bought the ticket. Farrakh Nizzar, 30, of Woodlands Road, Crumpsall, Greater Manchester - who goes by the nickname of Lucky - pleaded guilty to the charge of fraud and was sentenced to 30 months in jail.

So how was he caught, and could a 'moment of madness' drive a person to these lengths?%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%

The fraud

Grandmother, Maureen Holt, had been away at the time of the lottery draw, so took her ticket to her nearest lottery retailer to check if she had won anything. Nizzar scanned the ticket, saw the £1 million win, and told her it was worthless.

He then rang the lottery hotline in order to claim the EuroMillions win as his own. It was here that his story began to unravel.
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The investigation

Camelot, which runs the National Lottery, asked standard questions about where the ticket had been bought. Nizzar said it had been bought at the shop where he worked. However, Camelot ran checks and discovered that it had in fact been bought at a local Tesco. To add to his woes, Holt had used her Clubcard when she bought the ticket, so there could be no doubt that she was the rightful owner of the ticket. They then brought the police in.

Detective Constable Kate Carnally said: "Nizzar's actions were at best foolish, and at worst, extremely cruel. He knew this woman had a winning ticket and chose to lie to her, deliberately duping her out of a life-changing sum of money that would have meant financial security for her and her husband in their retirement."

She praised the checks, and said that because of Camelot's systems, "Nizzar has been brought to justice and just as importantly, the genuine owner of the ticket has been paid out what was always rightfully hers."

Mrs Holt and her husband issued a statement, saying: "We are glad justice has been done and that this matter is now behind us. We can now look forward to enjoying our lottery win and spending some time with our family and friends."

What would you do?

The story, therefore, has a happy ending, with a new millionaire and a fraudster jailed. However, as Carnally says, it's hard to know whether this was a calculated crime, or whether he was driven by a momentary reckless impulse. She says: "Whether it was a moment of madness in which he was blinded by the prospect of becoming a millionaire only he can know."

She went on to point out: "To cheat an elderly woman and try and claim the money for himself was both callous and underhand, but thankfully he did not get away with his scam."

However, it begs the question of just how far a 'moment of madness' can drive someone. Could you be driven to do something unthinkable for £1 million? Where would you draw the line? Let us know in the comments.

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Manchester shop worker guilty of lottery fraud

The map was commissioned to mark Tuesday night's EuroMillions roll-over which is now a staggering £138 million - the fifth biggest jackpot ever offered in the UK.

Should anyone scoop the jackpot, their wealth will be slightly less than Europe's biggest Lottery winners Colin and Chris Weir, from Largs in Ayrshire. The husband and wife made the headlines in July when they won £161,653,000, thanks to several rollovers.

Boasting 164 National Lottery millionaires, one in 14,211 North East residents has now banked a seven-figure jackpot prize. Winners Paul and Christine Goldie from Washington, near Sunderland, pocketed £3,581,481 after their numbers came up on Christmas Day last year.

The Millionaire Map, which includes both publicity and non-publicity winners, is based on the number of millionaires created per adult population. One man who did go public with his winnings was Wayne Hughes from Holyhead on Anglesey, north Wales. The shop worker scooped £1,117,779 last August and even had the winning numbers tattooed on his arm.

The region with the fewest millionaire jackpot winners was Northern Ireland, where only 53 seven-figure or more winners were created.

Wales has seen 179 millionaires - one person in 14,502 - created over the last 16 years. Rugby fans Terry Roberts, Mike Williams, Lance Gifford and Gerwyn Jones, from the Rhondda Valley in south Wales, split £4,091,609 in April this year.

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