Manchester shop worker jailed for £1m lottery fraud
A Manchester shop worker has been jailed after fraudulently trying to claim the £1m lottery winnings of an elderly woman.
Farrakh Nizzar, 30, of Woodlands Road, Crumpsall, Greater Manchester, told Maureen Holt, 78, she had won nothing when he scanned her ticket.
He later tried to claim the EuroMillions jackpot himself.
Nizzar, who pleaded guilty, was sentenced at Manchester Minshull Street Court to 30 months in prison.
Passing sentence, Recorder Philip Cattan told Nizzar: "This goes to the heart of public confidence in the National Lottery.
"The courts must demonstrate to you and to others that this type of fraud will be met by significant custody."
Mrs Holt and her husband Fred, 80, who knew Nizzar by his nickname Lucky, told him to bin the worthless ticket.
After they left the shop, Nizzar called the lottery hotline and tried to claim the jackpot for himself, saying he had bought the ticket at the Best One store in Watersheddings Street, Oldham, where he worked.
The scam was unravelled when checks were made by lottery operator Camelot which showed the winning ticket was not bought at the store.
It was bought at Tesco Extra in Oldham where Mr Holt had used his Clubcard while paying for the couple's weekly groceries and Mrs Holt was seen on CCTV footage.'Suspicious activity'
Mr and Mrs Holt had been on holiday when the draw which matched their numbers was made on 22 June.
They were presented with their cheque from Camelot on 2 August.
The couple said in a statement: "We are glad justice has been done and that this matter is now behind us. We can now look forward to enjoying our lottery win and spending some time with our family and friends.
"We understand the defendant has written a letter to us and we look forward to reading this."
Camelot said in a statement the company has "stringent operations in place to detect fraud and to monitor suspicious activity".
"The success of The National Lottery is built on player trust - and the sentence handed down to Mr Nizzar provides clear evidence Camelot will not allow that trust to be undermined in any way."
Det Con Kate Carnally said: "Nizzar's actions were at best foolish, and at worst, extremely cruel.
"He knew this woman had a winning ticket and chose to lie to her, deliberately duping her out of a life-changing sum of money that would have meant financial security for her and her husband in their retirement.
"To cheat an elderly woman and try and claim the money for himself was both callous and underhand, but thankfully he did not get away with his scam."
She added: "Because of that, Nizzar has been brought to justice and just as importantly, the genuine owner of the ticket has been paid out what was always rightfully hers."