Lotto ‘scam’ saw shop owner launch ‘fake hunt for winner so he could pocket £4m’

A shopkeeper allegedly launched a fake hunt to track down the owner of a winning lottery ticket in a bid to keep the jackpot for himself.

Manuel Reija is accused of staging an elaborate plot to make off with the £4m prize with his Lotto official brother, police claim.

It comes after he hit the headlines in praise of his efforts to track down the customer who bought the ticket from his store in A Coruna, Spain back in 2012.

READ MORE: Bloke in 'sexual relationship' with car devastated after lover is written off

But investigators accused him of telling the unsuspecting winner that the ticket was worth little over a euro before enlisting the help of his brother to cash in the ticket for himself, the Guardian reports.

It is claimed that Reija tried to collect the winnings on five separate occasions but was refused every single time by the lottery authorities, who launched an investigation when his bizarre version of events raised suspicions.

Reija has since been charged with fraud, while his brother has been charged with money laundering – which also carries a six-year sentence. Both brothers deny the charges.

A total of 317 people from across Spain came forward to say they bought the ticket, but one by one, all of their claims were found to be false.

Meanwhile, police made progress in their search for the legitimate winner after a judge ordered them to investigate.

They were able to track down a woman whose movements corresponded with the ticket sales.

  • Moment Brit girl knocked off feet and swept out to sea as witnesses drag her back

She turned out to be the buyer's wife who said her husband had passed away in 2014.

Prosecutors allege that Manuel duped him by only awarding him a small prize when he was entitled to millions.

They called for the prize money to be given to the widow and the daughter of the man who bought the lucky ticket.

For the latest stories from across the globe from the Daily Star, sign up for our newsletter by clicking here.

Source: Read Full Article