Man sentenced to 30 months for lottery scam bid

Farrak Nizzar has been sentenced to 30 months in prison Photo: MEN

A shop worker has been jailed for 30 months for trying to claim a winning #1 million lottery ticket belonging to a pensioner couple.

Farrakh Nizzar, 30, told Maureen Holt her EuroMillions ticket was a loser - and asked her if she wanted the ticket back.

Mrs Holt, 78, and her husband Fred, 80, who knew Nizzar by his nickname of "Lucky", told him to bin the worthless ticket.

In fact when Nizzar had scanned the ticket at his cousin's Best One shop in Oldham, Greater Manchester, where he worked, the terminal told him the holder should contact Camelot.

Nizzar, an illegal over-stayer in the UK who is due to be deported to Pakistan, kept the ticket and later called the lottery company himself in an attempt to keep the prize.

But the firm became suspicious when he was unable to answer questions about the winning ticket.

Camelot checked CCTV and traced the rightful owners of the ticket using Mr Holt's Tesco Clubcard to unite the couple with their #1 million prize.

Nizzar pleaded guilty last month to one charge of fraud by false representation committed on May 31 this year.

He bowed his head and made no reaction as he was jailed at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester.

Passing sentence, Recorder Philip Cattan told the defendant: "This goes to the heart of public confidence in the National Lottery.

"The courts must demonstrate to you and to others that this type of fraud will be met by significant custody."

Detective Constable Kate Carnally 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.

"Whether it was a moment of madness in which he was blinded by the prospect of becoming a millionaire only he can know, but 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.

"Throughout this investigation we have worked very closely with Camelot and we should applaud the diligence and thoroughness of Camelot's internal security checks which effectively exposed Nizzar as a liar. As a result, we launched a criminal investigation and picked Nizzar up using ANPR software.

"Because of that, Nizzar has been brought to justice and just as importantly, the genuine owner of the ticket has been paid out what was always rightfully hers."