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Florida Couple Faces Felony Charges for Trying to Fake Million-Dollar Lottery Win

Escambia County Sheriff's Office unveils the scheme, highlighting the couple's attempt to manipulate a "500 Times The Cash" ticket.
PUBLISHED APR 22, 2024
Cover Image Source: A customer at a 7-Eleven store checks the numbers on his Powerball lottery ticket | Getty Images | Photo by Scott Olson
Cover Image Source: A customer at a 7-Eleven store checks the numbers on his Powerball lottery ticket | Getty Images | Photo by Scott Olson

A Florida couple is facing felony charges after attempting to deceive officials with a fake million-dollar lottery ticket. Kira Enders and her boyfriend Dakota Jones, hailing from Walton County, allegedly tried to pass off a $50 scratch-off ticket as a grand prize winner, as reported by the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, via CBS News.

A man holds the ball bearing of the top prize winning number during the draw of Spain's Christmas lottery named 'El Gordo' | Getty Images | Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez
A man holds the ball bearing of the top prize winning number during the draw of Spain's Christmas lottery named 'El Gordo' | Getty Images | Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez

According to authorities, the couple presented a manipulated 500 Times The Cash ticket at a Florida Lottery office in Pensacola on March 1, 2024. The ticket, cleverly constructed from two separate tickets, aroused suspicion among lottery office workers, who promptly recognized the forgery upon inspection. Escambia Sheriff Chip Simmons commented on the incident, "They had an individual that thought that they could crudely take two tickets and put them together and pretend as if they were a million-dollar winner." Despite Enders' affirmation of the ticket's authenticity through a signed affidavit, further investigation revealed that neither of the individual tickets contained any winning prizes.



Sheriff Simmons emphasized that the attempted fraud was far from sophisticated, with the discrepancies in the ticket's serial numbers readily apparent. He remarked, "I don't think this is gonna be a made-for-TV movie type of situation because, uh, it was clear to the lottery officials, and clear to us, that she had taken two tickets with different, you know, one side had one serial number, the other side had the other serial number on it."

In a subsequent encounter less than a week later, Enders contacted the lottery office seeking her purported prize. However, investigators requested an in-person meeting with Enders and Jones, who accompanied her to the office. Despite being presented with evidence of the ticket's fabrication, including mismatched serial numbers and inconsistent details, Enders persisted in her claim of legitimacy.

Unsplash | Photo by Steve Sawusch
Unsplash | Photo by Steve Sawusch

The arrest report detailed conflicting accounts provided by the couple regarding the acquisition of the ticket, ultimately leading to their apprehension. Sheriff Simmons concluded, "If you're gonna try to claim a million dollars, you've got to do a lot better than this. You know, you're not a lottery winner, you're a criminal."

In a similar incident that echoes the ingenuity of a retired couple from the United States, Jerry and Marge Selbee, used a similar strategy to secure substantial winnings, per NDTV. Inspired by the Winfall lottery game, the Selbees, meticulously exploited a mathematical loophole, resulting in significant financial gains. Jerry and Marge Selbee, aged 80 and 81, respectively, accrued over $26 million in lottery prizes by identifying a flaw in the Winfall game in 2003. With a calculated investment of $1,100 in 1,100 tickets, they could almost guarantee winnings. This tactic yielded returns of $1,900, marking a profit of $800.

Utilizing their mathematical prowess, the Selbees strategically invested in Winfall tickets, doubling their money with each subsequent bet. Their method, rooted in basic arithmetic, proved highly lucrative, resulting in total winnings of $26 million over nine years. Their success led to the establishment of a corporation, G.S. Investment Strategies, allowing friends and family to join the venture for $500 each. Expanding their operations, they capitalized on a similar Winfall lottery in Massachusetts, purchasing hundreds of thousands of tickets during rolldown events. Ultimately, the Selbees' winnings amounted to approximately $26 million, generating a pre-tax profit of about $8 million. The funds were used to renovate their home and support the education of their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Despite scrutiny from authorities, it was determined that the individual's methods were legal. Their remarkable success has garnered widespread attention and serves as inspiration for the movie, ''Jerry & Marge Go Large.''



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