Man jailed for £1m lottery scam bid
A shop worker has been jailed for 30 months for trying to claim a winning £1 million lottery ticket belonging to a pensioner couple.
Farrakh Nizzar, 30, told Maureen Holt her EuroMillions ticket was a loser - and asked her if she wanted the ticket back.
Mrs Holt, 78, and her husband Fred, 80, who knew Nizzar by his nickname of "Lucky", told him to bin the worthless ticket.
In fact when Nizzar had scanned the ticket at his cousin's Best One shop in Oldham, Greater Manchester, where he worked, the terminal told him the holder should contact Camelot.
Nizzar, an illegal over-stayer in the UK who is due to be deported to Pakistan, kept the ticket and later called the lottery company himself in an attempt to keep the prize. But the firm became suspicious when he was unable to answer questions about the winning ticket.
Camelot checked CCTV and traced the rightful owners of the ticket using Mr Holt's Tesco Clubcard to unite the couple with their £1 million prize.
Nizzar pleaded guilty last month to one charge of fraud by false representation committed on May 31 this year. He bowed his head and made no reaction as he was jailed at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester.
Passing sentence, Recorder Philip Cattan told the defendant: "This goes to the heart of public confidence in the National Lottery. The courts must demonstrate to you and to others that this type of fraud will be met by significant custody."
Carolyn Smith, mitigating, said Nizzar came to the UK in 2007 on a student visa and completed a postgraduate diploma in business studies. But his student visa ran out, he was refused leave to remain in the UK and exhausted all his rights to appeal.
As an "over-stayer" he had no rights to work or claim benefits and was faced with "irresistible temptation" to claim the winning ticket himself. He has since written a letter of apology to Mr and Mrs Holt, the court was told.