Manchester shop worker guilty of lottery fraud

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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?

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.


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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