Posted on: February 13, 2024, 10:10h.
Last updated on: February 13, 2024, 10:10h.
A Massachusetts store clerk who tried to steal a $3 million winning lottery ticket got a break from a judge in Brockton, Mass., Friday, NBC Boston reports.
Carly Nunes, 24, went on the run after her plan to cash in the ticket was exposed, leaving her facing multiple felony charges of larceny and fraud.
On Friday, she pleaded guilty to one of those charges, presentation of a false claim. Judge William Sullivan sentenced Nunes to two years’ probation with the requirement that she continues treatment for substance abuse.
In January 2023, Nunes was working as a clerk at the store formerly known as Savas Liquors in Lakeville, Mass., when a customer entered to purchase a bag of potato chips and two Quick Picks for the Mega Millions draw.
But the customer left his tickets in the tray at the checkout counter, and they were subsequently fished out by Nunes.
Two days later, Nunes appeared at Massachusetts State Lottery HQ in Dorchester, along with her boyfriend and a man named Joseph Reddem, who also worked at the liquor store. When she presented the ticket, officials were suspicious because it was burned and partially torn.
Afterwards, they heard Reddem arguing with Nunes in the lobby. Reddem appeared to be demanding half the jackpot for himself. Officials heard Nunes say that she would only pay him $200K. They asked the police to investigate.
Examination of the security video at Savas Liquors revealed the then-unknown customer to be the real winner.
After she was indicted on June 12, Nunes disappeared for two weeks before she was finally arrested on a warrant on June 27.
Would You Do the Same?
In court Friday, Plymouth County prosecutor Alexander Zane asked for a prison sentence of one to two years to “send a message” about the integrity of the state lottery. But he also appeared sympathetic to Nunes and her poor decision making.
“I truly don’t know if anybody put in the situation that this young woman was in at least wouldn’t have thought of doing what she tried to do,” Zane said. “The instinct to have potentially $3 million in her hands was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Reddem is scheduled to stand trial in May for attempting to extort Nunes over the ticket.
Real Winner Found
After Nunes’ claim was revealed to be bogus, lottery officials attempted to track down the real winner, canvassing the Lakeville area with screen-grab shots of the surveillance video.
A month later, Paul Little learned he was the rightful owner of the $3 million ticket. Speaking to NBC Boston Friday, he said that Nunes was “young enough to learn from her mistake and pick a different direction in her life.”
“I wish her the best and pray good things come her way,” Little said.