Gas station employee accused of pin-pricking lotto tickets

By Megan Kennedy - Digital News Editor

HUFFMAN, Texas - A store clerk is accused of altering scratch-off lottery tickets to determine if a ticket is an instant winner, according to court documents.

Officials were notified after an anonymous person sent pictures of an altered ticket, showing "pin-pricked markings through the bonus box of the tickets" after purchasing it at a Fuel Maxx in the 26000 block of FM 2100 Road in Huffman, according to court documents.

While investigators were at the store, they examined all of the activated scratch lottery tickets and found four with pin-prick markings through the bonus box of each ticket, according to documents.

"Pin-pricking marking on a scratch lottery tickets consists of small scratches made by a person through an area that usually consists of a bonus box to determine if a ticket is an instant winner," according to documents. The scratches are typically done with a fingernail or an object to remove enough of the latex cover to see if the ticket is a winner, records show. 

Cliford Gracias, a clerk at the gas station, was seen on store surveillance video "pin-pricking the scratch lottery tickets in question," according to court documents.

Gracias denied altering the tickets even though he was shown the surveillance video "several times" and after officials pointed out his actions, records show.


Cliford Gracias is seen in this mugshot released by the Harris County Sheriff's Office on Oct. 12, 2018.

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