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N.Y. store clerk busted in Lotto scam

Jun 26, 2006, 1:18 pm

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New York Lottery

A man who bought a Lotto ticket worth $1 million at a Huntington Station store was almost swindled out of his winnings by the clerk, State Police said.

Carlos Canas bought the $1 million Lotto Luck scratch-off ticket at Huntington Beverage, 1687 New York Ave., on June 7 and immediately knew he had won.

Wanting to verify his winnings and get information on how to claim the prize, police said Canas handed the ticket to the clerk, Mohinder K. Misri.

Misri allegedly scanned the ticket, tore it in half, threw it in the trash and told Canas he had won $100. When Canas asked for the ticket back to redeem it at another Lotto retailer, police said Misri allegedly pulled a winning ticket worth $20 out of the trash and attempted to hand it to him.

Canas went to the garbage and pulled out his ticket when the store owner appeared. She scanned the ticket to verify that it was worth $1 million, gave him a computer printout and referred him to the Lotto offices in Garden City to claim his prize, because it was more than $600.

"If (Canas) wasn't so astute, he could've walked away with $100 and the clerk $1 million," said state Trooper Eric Baez. "It's really an opportunity to take advantage of someone."

During an interview with Lotto officials the next day in Garden City, Canas revealed the incident with Misri. They thought it was odd that a winning ticket would be torn, Baez said.

The New York Lottery Security Unit and the New York State Police Video Lottery Unit contacted New York State Police Troop L for help in the investigation.

Misri was arrested on Thursday, his day off, at his Huntington home and was charged with attempted grand larceny, a Class C felony. He was held in Suffolk County Jail until he posted $5,000 bail Saturday.

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