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Store clerk is charged with claiming lottery ticket of patron

March 14, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

RANSON, W.VA.

A Ranson convenience store clerk faces possible jail time and as much as $6,000 in fines after police say she tried to claim a $20,000 prize from the West Virginia Lottery, according to Jefferson County Magistrate Court records.

Misty Ann Crawford, 26, of 28 Windswept Lane, is charged with forgery, counterfeiting, etc., (of a) lottery ticket. She also is charged with larceny of bank notes, checks and writings of value and book accounts and obtaining money, property and services by false pretenses, court records state.

The forgery, counterfeiting, etc. (of a) lottery ticket charge carries a possible punishment of a fine as much as $1,000 and/or not less than a year in jail. The other two charges each carry a possible punishment of one to 10 years in jail and a fine of as much as $2,500, according court records.

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On Feb. 20, Crystal Adams entered the Roc's Shell station at 400 S. Fairfax Blvd. in Ranson and bought several 20 Grand Instant lottery tickets, records state.

Adams scratched off the tickets, gave them to Crawford and asked the clerk if any of the tickets were winners, records state.

Crawford looked at the tickets, walked away and then told Adams she had a $2 winner, records allege.

Adams decided to buy a $2 lottery ticket with her winnings, said Ranson Police Department Capt. Mickey Ballenger, who investigated the case.

Crawford put the tickets that Adams gave her under a counter and gave Adams the additional lottery ticket, court records allege.

Adams scratched off the additional $2 lottery ticket, realized it was not a winner and left the store, records state.

The next day, someone told Adams that Crawford cashed one of her lottery tickets from the previous day. Adams went to the Roc's station and told the manager what had happened, according to records.

The manager obtained a surveillance tape and viewed it. The Ranson Police Department was called, Ballenger said.

The surveillance tape shows Adams buying and scratching several tickets and giving them to Crawford, records state.

Crawford is seen looking at the tickets, walking away from Adams and putting the tickets on top of a machine under a counter, records allege.

Adams is seen scratching off the losing $2 lottery ticket she bought with her winnings and leaving the store. Crawford is seen taking the tickets from under the counter and scanning them on a lottery machine, according to records.

Later that day, police allege Crawford went to the Country Roads store in Middleway and had store workers scan a ticket. Crawford obtained a prize claim form and sent it to the West Virginia Lottery to claim a $20,000 prize, records state.

State lottery officials sent Crawford a check, but it was intercepted before Crawford received it, Ballenger said.

State lottery spokeswoman Nancy Bulla said Monday that the case was under investigation by the West Virginia Lottery and the Ranson Police Department and that she could not comment.

Bulla said the situation should serve as a reminder for lottery players to be careful with their tickets. She said it is important for players to sign the back of any winning tickets because then only that person can claim the prize.

Crawford is free on $5,000 bond.

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