Cops: Deli owner, son stole customer's $1M lotto ticket
A Hempstead deli owner and his son tried to bilk a customer out of a $1-million lottery prize -- paying him $1,000 instead, Nassau police said Saturday.
Peninsula Deli & Grocery owner Nabil Jaghab, 57, and his son, store clerk Karim Jaghab, 26, were arrested Friday, police said.
The Jaghabs told police it was a mistake and that they had thrown the ticket away, but detectives recovered it, according to court documents.
The customer, a 34-year-old Hempstead man who doesn't speak English, purchased the $10 "Unwrap The Cash" scratch-off New York Lottery ticket on Thursday, police said.
After playing the game, he handed the ticket to Karim Jaghab, who scanned it and learned it was a million-dollar winner. According to police, the clerk kept the ticket, told the customer he had won $1,000 and paid him that amount in cash.
Police said the victim returned to the store at 462 Peninsula Blvd. the next day to question his winnings, and Jaghab told him, "OK, I will pay you $10,000 as long as you don't involve the police."
Nabil Jaghab backed up his son, telling the customer, "You only won $10,000," according to detectives. The victim later called police.
The Jaghabs, both of East Meadow, were released on $7,500 bond after their arraignments Saturday on grand larceny charges.
Both father and son made "numerous oral admissions" about the scam to police, according to court documents.
Mineola defense attorney Matthew Fleischer said in First District Court in Hempstead that his clients appeared to have made a "simple mistake" over a lottery payout. He declined to comment afterward.
Police said the winning ticket has been returned to the customer.
"The matter is in the hands of law enforcement at this time," New York State Gaming Commission spokesman Lee Park said. "We stand ready to cooperate with law enforcement to provide whatever data or information they need."