Maureen Holt, 77, had bought a Euromillions ticket and after the draw took it into a local shop to ask that they check to see whether it was a winning ticket. Farrakh Nizzar of Crumpsall, Greater Manchester was serving in the shop, and having scanned the ticket saw that it was a jackpot winner. However, instead of telling Mrs Holt the good news, he told her that it hadn't won anything and kept the ticket.
Mr Nizzar then rang the lottery hotline to claim the jackpot for himself, pretending that he had legitimately bought the ticket at the shop where he worked. However, Camelot carried out checks to see whether the claim was genuine and saw that the ticket had, in fact, been purchased elsewhere. Mr Nizzar's gamble that either no one would check, or that Mrs Holt would have purchased and checked the ticket at the same shop, did not pay off.
Mrs Holt had delayed checking her ticket as she and her husband were abroad at the time of the draw in June. Having now been told the story of what had happened and receiving the delayed good news, Mrs Holt and her husband said "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"
Mr Nizzar was sentenced by Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court to 30 months imprisonment, of which he will be required to serve half before being released on licence.
A police spokesperson 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."
On being told that Mr Nizzar has written the couple a letter, they said they were looking forward to reading it.
Thankfully Mrs Holt now has what is rightfully hers, and there can be little that is more reassuring than financial security in old age.
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.