A California man who believed his winning scratch-off lottery ticket was worth $10,000 got the surprise of his life last month when he was told it was actually worth $10 million. This was followed on Monday by another big surprise: he was under arrest for allegedly stealing his roommate’s winning lottery ticket.
Adul Saosongyang, 35, of Vacaville, was arrested at the Sacramento Lottery Office on a grand theft warrant and will no doubt be wondering just how substantial the increase in sentencing is for thieves of eight-figure sums over five-figure sums.
Several weeks earlier, on December 20, Saosongyang’s unnamed roommate purchased a $30 scratch-off lottery ticket from a Lucky Store that turned out to be a winner. CBS reports that, for reasons unclear, the roommate believed he had won only $10,000 and returned home to blab excitedly to his cohabitant.
Switched for a Dud
But when the roommate went to cash his ticket the next day, he was told it was not a winner and also that it had been doctored. He immediately suspected that Saosongyang had switched the ticket for a dud while he had been sleeping and he contacted the police.
Meanwhile, Saosongyang was at the Sacramento Lottery Office learning the real value of the ticket. The office — unaware the ticket had been reported stolen — congratulated Saosongyang, but before paying out it began an investigation that is routinely conducted on all winnings of more than $600.
This involved the examination of security footage at the Lucky in Vacaville, which aroused lottery officials’ suspicions. In the meantime, they were contacted by police investigating the victim’s complaint.
Saosongyang was told to appear at the lottery office on January 7 to collect, but instead of being showered with untold wealth, he was booked into the Sacramento County Jail.
Triple Six Fix
As lottery scams go, Soasongyang’s was pretty unsophisticated. At the other end of the spectrum is Eddie Tipton, who was imprisoned in 2017 for installing a self-destructing hack program into the Iowa Hot Lotto’s random number generator that allowed him to predict the numbers in an attempt to claim a $14 million prize.
But the “Triple Six Fix” of 1980 wasn't the most famous lottery scam ever to come to light. That honor goes to a plot to fix the Pennsylvania Lottery’s three-digit game, “The Daily Number,” hatched by the draw’s own announcer, Nick Perry.
Perry managed to switch all balls with weighted copies — apart from the fours and sixes. The weighted balls would be too heavy to fly out of the machines, which meant Perry and his co-conspirators knew this would produce just eight possible combinations of three numbers: 444, 446, 464, 466, 644, 646, 664, and 666.
Fittingly, the numbers came up 666, but officials were alerted by the suspicious amount of tickets that had been purchased by Perry and his associates using just the eight combinations. Perry was sentenced to seven years in prison — and there was a John Travolta film loosely based on him, Lucky Numbers — but he maintained his innocence until his death in 2003.
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