Mar 6, 2007, 7:19 am
A South Carolina convenience store employee turned herself in to police Monday on allegations she stole dozens of scratch-off lottery tickets from work last month and then cashed in the winners, officials said.
Tashawn I. Ealey, 23, of the 300 block of Jehossee Drive in Aiken, is charged with three counts of lottery fraud.
Detective Billy Royster, Aiken Public Safety, said the subject stole the tickets, each valued at $10, and then collected the money for the winners.
The store, however, is out of the money, he said.
The guilty party could be ordered to pay restitution, but that is part of the judicial process, Royster said.
"For now, they will have to pay the lottery back for each $10 ticket; with dozens stolen, that's going to add up," Royster said.
Police said the store changed its policy several weeks ago, requiring better accounting practices of tickets.
He said there was a discrepancy in the number of tickets available and the number of tickets they should have had.
Those unaccounted for tickets were then cashed in at the same store, he said.
If convicted, the subject could face up to 15 years in prison for the theft.
It's a five-year felony for cashing stolen lottery tickets, he said.
Detectives met with the woman late last week and agreed to let her turn herself in on the charges.
Royster said the woman met with police Monday afternoon and was booked at the Aiken County detention center.
Her bond was set at $15,000.
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