A California man who tried to scam his way into hitting the jackpot has been arrested instead.
Adul Saosongyang, 35, allegedly stole a winning scratch-off ticket for a $10 million prize from his roommate, police said.
The unidentified victim bought the $30 Scratchers ticket at a Lucky supermarket in Vacaville, about 45 miles southwest of Sacramento, according to the Vacaville Police Department. After the man scraped off his results, he thought he won $10,000 and went home to share the news with his two roommates, police said.
When the man went to the California State Lottery's district office in Sacramento to collect his winnings the next day, he was told that the ticket was not a winner and had been altered, police said. The victim suspected that one of his roommates must have stolen the actual winning ticket and filed a report with the police department.
The next day, when Saosongyang went to the lottery office, he was told that the winning ticket he had was actually worth $10 million, police said, adding that lottery workers were unaware at the time that the ticket had been reported stolen.
The lottery office then began its standard administrative investigation it conducts for all winnings over $600. The investigator who went to the Lucky grocery store to obtain surveillance footage of the purchase was then told that the ticket may have been stolen and contacted police to initiate a joint investigation. They both determined that Saosongyang allegedly purchased a similar lottery ticket and altered it before swapping it with the winning ticket, according to authorities.
On Monday, the lottery investigator invited Saosongyang to the Sacramento office to collect his winnings, but he was arrested and charged with grand theft instead, police said.
The California Lottery confirmed in a statement that the theft of the $10 million prize money was thwarted and reminded players to take precautions when playing the lotto.
"Immediately sign the back of Lottery tickets in ink; put them in a secure place you will remember; and, visit one of nine Lottery district offices throughout the state to begin the claims process," the statement advised.
The man who actually bought the ticket will be awarded his winnings after lottery investigators verify his identity, according to the statement.
Saosongyang was booked into Sacramento County jail on Monday and was transferred to Solano County on Thursday, where he is being held on $65,000 bail.
He is expected to appear in court Thursday afternoon. It is unclear if he has retained an attorney.