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Lottery conman spared jail term

A shopkeeper has been spared prison for trying to con a lottery syndicate out of nearly £80,000 in winnings.

Imran Pervais, 26, misled the winning group into thinking they had won £10 when in fact they had scooped £79,887 after matching five balls and the bonus ball. He was convicted by a jury in March of fraud by false representation following a two-day trial.

At Maidstone Crown Court, Judge David Griffiths-Jones QC sentenced him to 12 months in jail, suspended for two years, as he described the offence as "opportunistic" and "mean-spirited".

He said Pervais, of Milton Road, Gravesend, Kent, had abused the trust placed in him by the victim, Callum Crosier and his work syndicate, to try to pocket the lottery winnings himself. The judge said that Pervais' offence "derived from an impulsive decision" on his part but he ultimately failed to deprive the syndicate of their winnings.

Pervais was working at the family shop, Moores Convenience Store in Mackenzie Way, Gravesend, on May 18 when Mr Crosier walked in to check four lottery tickets he had bought the week before.

Mr Crosier, who puts on 28 lines a week as part of a work syndicate, was told by Pervais that one of the tickets had registered a £10 win. As another winning slip was being printed, the victim said: "What's that? Another tenner?" Pervais was said to have replied: "Yes."

Using the £20 won in total and adding a further £8, Mr Crosier then bought another 28 lines for the next lottery draw - not realising he had fallen victim to fraud. It was only when he returned to work and checked the numbers that he realised one of the lines had in fact matched five numbers, which would earn a prize of £1,000. He then went back to the store and informed Pervais, who told him to return in a couple of hours so he could check the shop for the ticket.

In the meantime, the court heard the victim checked the numbers again and realised that in fact the bonus ball on that line had also been matched, triggering a near-£80,000 windfall.

He went back to tell Pervais and demanded to be shown the ticket. He was given a number of bin bags to search through before being invited to look behind the counter. Some wooden plinths were removed from the back of the counter, revealing a number of pink winning slips and a screwed-up lottery ticket - Mr Crosier's winning ticket.

Camelot launched an investigation and found that all four tickets had been scanned, including the one with the substantial winning prize. Pervais was arrested on June 15. of Justice)

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