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Scratch lottery ticket scam: Clerk accused of scratching tickets before sale

Investigators say surveillance video caught him in the act

HOUSTON – A convenience store clerk appeared in court Monday after being accused of scratching tickets to see if they were winners before the tickets were sold.

Investigators said it happened at the Timewise Food Store at 8190 Katy Freeway in Houston. Clerk Omar Ali, 31, is charged with violation of lottery act, a felony, as some of the tickets had prizes of up to $1 million.

Prosecutors said Ali worked at Timewise for eight years.

Investigators said they received at least two complaints from customers who said their tickets had been tampered with. According to court documents, investigators believe Ali would use a pin to make very small scratches in the bonus prize box to see if the ticket was an instant winner or not.

“I don’t want to buy none from here no more,” said customer Nathaniel Hagan. “Taking away from the customers but it ain’t right though.“

Court documents didn’t mention what investigators think Ali was doing with the winning tickets.

The Texas Lottery Commission did not want to comment, neither did Landmark Industries who owns the gas station.

Ali is currently out jail on bond