HEMPSTEAD, NY (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island convenience store owner and his son were charged this week with lying to a customer and cheating him out of all but a small fraction of the winnings from a $1 million lottery ticket.
Nabil Jaghab, 57 — owner of the Peninsula Deli & Grocery at 462 Peninsula Blvd. in Hempstead – and his son and clerk, Karim Jaghab, 26, were both charged with grand larceny, Nassau County police said Saturday.
Police said a 34-year-old man who did not speak English walked into the convenience store on Thursday and bought a $10 “Unwrap the Cash” scratch-off New York State Lottery ticket. He found that he had won and handed the ticket to Karim Jaghab, police said.
Karim Jaghab scanned the card and received a message from the state lottery reading, “File claim: jackpot winner – please return original ticket to the customer along with a claim receipt,” police said. This meant the man had won the $1 million jackpot, police said.
But Karim Jaghab did not give the ticket back and tell the man he had won the jackpot, according to police. He instead told the victim he had only won $1,000, which he paid the victim in cash, police said.
The victim became doubtful the following day and returned to the store. Karim Jaghab told him, “OK, I will pay you $10,000 as long as you don’t involve the police.”
Owner Nabil Jaghab, who was present at the time, also insisted to the man that he had only won $10,000, police said. But the victim did not buy the Jaghabs’ claims and called police.
Hempstead and Nassau county police took the winning ticket and found that it was indeed worth $1 million. They concluded that the father and son had tried to cheat the victim out of the money and claim the winnings for themselves.
Police also said Jaghabs failed to comply with a policy requiring any prize of more than $600 or more to be redeemed at a New York State Lottery office, rather than in cash at the place of purchase.
Nabil and Kamir Jaghab, both of East Meadow, were arrested without incident, police said. As WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported, bail was set at $75,000 for both defendants at Nassau County First District Court in Hempstead Saturday.
The Jaghabs’ attorney, Matthew Fleischer, said in court that the lottery machine at the store was not working properly.
“My client was cooperative with detectives in this matter,” Fleischer said. “He wasn’t trying to evade the investigation.”
Fleischer insisted that his client has been cooperating with authorities, CBS 2's Steve Langford reported.
“My client was cooperative with the detectives in this matter. He wasn’t trying to evade the investigation,” he said.
Local residents who used to pick up their tickets at the deli may be going elsewhere in the future.
“Not anymore. Not after that,” one shopper said.
The Jaghab’s appeared in Nassau County Court on Saturday. Bail was set a $7,500 each.