Yesterday we wondered if there was any scam that Miamians don't excel at? Well, it turns out you can't even buy a lottery ticket in this town without running the risk of getting massively ripped off by a shady business owner (well, more than the lottery usually rips you off).
Silvia C. Calleja, an owner of a local market, was arrested after allegedly telling a customer that her winning lottery ticket was a dud despite being a winner and then giving the ticket to her husband to cash.
Calleja owns La Rampa Supermarket, an Allapattah-area market located at 2925 NW 27th Avenue.
The Florida Lottery has begun to crack down on shady lottery ticket seller through its Retailer Integrity Program. Apparently that's a big problem down here in Florida. The Lottery's Division of Security suspected Calleja of swiping customer's winning tickets, and sent in an undercover agent to investigate.
The agent handed Calleja a fake winning ticket. Calleja scanned the ticket and discovered it was a winner, but told the agent that in fact it was a loser and kept the ticket for herself. Calleja's husband was also arrested when he tried to cash the ticket.
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"The Florida Lottery will not tolerate fraudulent activity by our players or retailers. The integrity of the Florida Lottery is our top priority," said Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O'Connell. "The action taken today is part of our on-going retailer integrity efforts to combat illegal activity."
The Lottery does give players tips on how to protect themselves off from shady retailers. They suggest signing the back of every ticket on purchase, checking to see if your ticket is a winner by yourself, and watching the retailer's Lottery terminal monitor when they're handling a ticket.
The Lottery has also added a new "winners sound" to its lottery terminals. They say anytime a retailer scans a winning ticket the terminal will alert everyone by playing a "distinct sound."