Case # 14CF3866
Date: November 25, 2014
LIQUOR STORE CLERK ARRESTED FOR ILLEGALLY REDEEMING WINNING LOTTERY SCRATCHER TICKETS AND KNOWINGLY RESELLING LOSING TICKETS TO UNSUSPECTING CUSTOMERS
SANTA ANA – A liquor store clerk was arrested today and will be arraigned for illegally redeeming winning scratcher lottery tickets and knowingly reselling losing tickets to unsuspecting customers. Francis Bou Karam, 34, Newport Beach, is charged with one felony count of grand theft, one felony count of computer access fraud, and 23 felony counts of forgery with sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime over $100,000 and loss over $65,000. If convicted, Karam faces a maximum sentence of 18 years and four months in state prison. Karam is being held on $150,000 bail and must prove that the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. The arraignment date and time is to be determined.
Between Jan. 1, 2013, and Nov. 13, 2014, Karam worked as a clerk at Craig Liquor in Santa Ana. At the time of the crimes, Karam is accused of scratching off a small portion of lottery ticket scratchers, without purchasing them, to determine if they were winning tickets. This type of fraud is known as “pinning.” He is accused of redeeming the winning tickets for cash from California State Lottery (CSL) and reselling the losing tickets back to customers. Karam is accused of redeeming $50,000 in cash from winning lottery tickets and defrauding the CSL and unsuspecting customers of $100,000, which represents the combined retail value of the winning and losing lottery ticket scratchers.
CSL investigated this case after monitoring suspicious redemption activity from the liquor store and arrested the defendant today, Nov. 25, 2014.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Robert Mestman of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.