Adul Saosongyang is a California man charged with stealing his roommate’s $10 million-winning lottery ticket, The Sacramento Bee reported.
According to the Vacaville Police Department, Saosongyang’s roommate purchased a $30 lottery ticket that he thought was a $10,000 winner. But when the man took the ticket to the lottery district office to redeem it, officials told him that his ticket had been altered. Police said that was because Saosongyang had taken the ticket and replaced it with a fake one. The lottery winner then reported his ticket as stolen after he was unable to cash it.
Saosongyang, 35, then tried to cash the real ticket and learned that it was actually worth $10 million. Officials discovered that the ticket had been reported as stolen and called Saosongyang to the office, where he was arrested.
Saosongyang faces one charge of grand theft.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Adul Saosongyang’s Roommate Bought a Winning Lottery Ticket He Thought Was Worth $10K
Saosongyang’s roommate, who has not been identified, bought a lottery ticket on December 20 and believed he had won a $10,000 prize, Vacaville Police Department spokesman, Lt. Chris Polen told NPR.
“He still wasn’t sure so he went back to the same grocery store to have the staff confirm it and they said, ‘yes, you’re a winner,'” Polen recounted. But he did not cash it at that time and they did not tell him how much he had won, so he didn’t know it was actually worth $10 million.
The man went home and told his two roommates his good news before stuffing the ticket in his coat pocket.
When he went to the Lottery’s District Office in Sacramento to redeem the ticket, officials told him that the ticket was not a winner and had been altered.
“Right away, he suspected one of his roommates of stealing the ticket while he was sleeping and reported it to the police,” Polen said on Facebook.
2. Adul Saosongyang Tried to Redeem The Ticket & Learned It Was Worth $10 Million, Police Say
The roommate was apparently correct as police say video showed that Saosongyang went to the same district office in hopes of collecting the $10,000. He also did not know it was really worth much more, according to police.
When officials examined the ticket, they told Saosongyang that the ticket was actually a $10 million winner.
The California Lottery launched a routine investigation into the winnings, as it does for any ticket that wins over $600. Investigators soon discovered that the Vacaville Police Department had launched an investigation into the winning ticket because Saosongyang’s roommate reported it missing and possibly stolen.
3. Adul Saosongyang Continued to Live With Roommate During Investigation
The investigation lasted for weeks. During the three weeks, the Saosongyang continued to live with the man he stole the ticket from and both pretended like nothing was wrong, police said.
“I don’t know how he did it,” Polen said. “I guess if you know you’ve got $10 million waiting for you on the other end of it, you can just pretend everything’s okay for a little while.”
During those weeks, police reviewed the surveillance video at the store the ticket was purchased. The video showed the alleged victim buying a ticket and, hours later, Saosongyang buying the same type of ticket.
4. Adul Saosongyang Was Charged With Grand Theft
“Once we saw that, it was clear what had happened,” Polen said. “The roommate had tried to swap the winning ticket with a losing one that he had altered to make it look like the real thing.”
Lottery officials lured Saosongyang to the district office by telling him he could collect his winnings on January 7. Instead, two Vacaville police officers were waiting to arrest him.
Saosongyang was charged with grand theft and booked into Sacramento County Jail.
5. The Roommate Hasn’t Gotten The Ticket Back
While Saosongyang is behind bars, his roommate still hasn’t gotten the winning ticket back, Russ Lopez, a spokesman for the California Lottery, told NPR.
“It’s been a very complicated thing,” Lopez said. “We still have to determine that the first man – Saosongyang’s roommate – is the rightful owner of the ticket. … Then we can give him his money,” Lopez said.
“We still want to make sure that the true owner of the ticket will get that $10 million dollars,” he told KCRA.
Lopez added that lottery winners should be extra careful with their tickets.
“Sign it. Put it in a safe place only you know about, but you’ll remember and then come and claim the ticket,” he said.
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