A man in California who tried to cash in a $75,000 winning lottery ticket -- only to be given $75 by a Chevron employee -- was revealed to be a state lottery inspector.
The lottery fiasco went viral this week after a manager at the Palmdale gas station released security video of the mishap, and tried to identify the "winner" to give him the money he was really owed, NBC Los Angeles reported on Sunday. Station manager Shamsun Nahar Islam told reporters that her clerk made a huge mistake when he forked over only $75 on March 25.
"I hope the right person comes and picks up the ticket," she said on Sunday.
What Islam apparently didn't know is that the customer was an undercover California Lottery inspector. There was no actual winner, and the inspector was conducting a compliance check, according to KTLA. Now the state is investigating the Chevron to see whether the mistake was an honest one.
“Since the store held onto the ticket, it appears the ticket was mishandled,” [Lottery spokesman Russell Lopez] said in a brief statement to KTLA. “We are currently investigating this case.”
The California State Lottery Act requires year-round compliance checks “to protect our business, our players, and yes, our retailers,” Lopez said. Compliance is 98 percent, meaning almost all retailers “act with integrity and honesty,” Lopez said.
Lopez told ABC-7 that the clerk also should have given the customer a validation ticket, and called state lottery officials immediately. Islam claims that she tried to reach out to the state, but didn't get a response, so she went to the media and released surveillance video of the blunder (above).
She held on to the ticket and waited to see if anyone would step forward, a move that may also be against state lottery regulations.
The investigation is expected to take weeks, and lottery officials haven't yet determined the Chevron employee's intent, or whether employees committed fraud.