LAKEVILLE, Mass. (WPRI) — A woman and her boyfriend are facing charges after the couple stole a winning $3 million lottery ticket and attempted to cash it in earlier this year, according to officials in Massachusetts.
Carly Nunes, 23, of Lakeville, is accused of holding onto a customer’s lottery tickets back in January while working as a cashier at a liquor store. U.S. District Attorney Timothy Cruz said the man who purchased the tickets had accidentally left the store without them, forgetting them in the lottery terminal tray.
Surveillance footage from inside the store captured the moment when another customer alerted Nunes to the tickets, which she took and placed behind the counter, according to Cruz.
Cruz said the man searched for his ticket to confirm but gave up when he couldn’t find it. That night, the numbers on one of the man’s Mass Millions tickets were selected for the $3 million prize.
The ticket didn’t turn up until a couple of days later, when Nunes and her boyfriend and coworker, 32-year-old Joseph Reddem, of Manchester, New Hampshire, reportedly tried to cash it in at the Massachusetts State Lottery headquarters.
Cruz said lottery employees confirmed the numbers on the ticket but became skeptical after overhearing Nunes and Reddem arguing over his share of the prize money. The ticket itself was also torn and burned, with Nunes claiming she had mistakenly damaged the ticket while removing it from her wallet, and burned it by accidentally placing it on a pipe.
Under investigation, Nunes claimed she purchased the winning ticket near the end of her shift, on the day it was sold.
After investigators saw surveillance footage of a customer purchasing the ticket, Cruz said Nunes changed her story and told them she had “inadvertently obtained the winning ticket.”
Nunes has since been charged with larceny from a building, attempted larceny, presentation of a false claim, and witness intimidation. Reddem was charged with attempted extortion.
Detectives eventually tracked down the man who purchased the winning ticket nearly a month later, who Cruz said didn’t realize his costly mistake.
The Massachusetts State Lottery Commission intends to honor the victim’s $3 million ticket, according to Cruz.