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Cops: Riverside convenience store clerks scammed $74,000 from lotto winner last month

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Two Riverside convenience store clerks are facing grand larceny and conspiracy charges after they scammed a man out of his $74,000 lotto ticket winnings, according to Southampton Town Police. A third man, the brother of one of the clerks, was also charged in the scheme, police said.

Police said Yalcin Nergiz, 41, Yunis Ozturk, 33, of Riverhead, were working at the Valero gas station and convenience store in Riverside on the evening of March 18, when a male customer brought in several scratch-off lotto tickets and a Take 5-Quick Pick ticket. The clerks cashed the 28-year-old construction worker’s scratch-off tickets for a few dollars, police said, but when they scanned his Take 5-Quick Pick ticket and saw it was worth $74,892, they consipred to steal his winnings, according to a Southampton Police Department news release issued this morning.

They told the man his ticket was worth $774, congratulated him on his winnings, and sent him on his way, refusing several requests to give him a receipt, police said.

Afterwards, Ozturk gave the winning ticket to his brother, Orhan Ozurk, 47, also of Riverhead, who cashed it in with Lotto so the trio could split the winnings.

The victim, who police did not identfiy, realized something was amiss when he learned that only Lotto is authorized to pay out winnings above $600 and that the store he bought his ticket in was boasting a $74,000 winner.

He returned to the store and confronted the clerks without success and then reported the theft to Southampton Town Police. Southampton police detectives investigated, working with the New York State Lotto Commission, the owner of the gas station, and the Suffolk County District Attorney Economic Crimes Bureau, resulting in the arrest of the three men on April 19.

They are all charged with one count each of grand larceny in the second degree, a class C felony and conspiracy in the fourth degree, a class E felony.

They were held overnight for morning arraignment, police said.


Editor’s note: A criminal charge is an accusation. By law, a person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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