If you’ve ever played the lottery in North Carolina, then the price you paid for a ticket went to fund the state’s education system. That is, unless you played without paying for a ticket. A young woman in Raleigh is accused of just that. Authorities claim the 22-year-old stole lottery tickets from her employer over the course of about three months.
It isn’t clear whether police believe the young woman redeemed all of the allegedly stolen tickets, but the value of the tickets in question was said to be $9,667. The woman is accused of illegally collecting $2,616 in winnings. A news report doesn’t indicate why or how authorities came to suspect her of theft.
The woman faces serious charges: felony embezzlement and felony obtaining property by false pretense. The embezzlement charge stems from the claim that the woman stole from her employer, and the other charge relates to the allegation that she illegally redeemed stolen lottery tickets. Conviction on either charge could result in life-altering penalties, including jail time and a criminal record.
The North Carolina Education Lottery has its own investigators, and the arrest warrant for the woman names one such investigator.
Whenever any of us hears that a person has been accused of a crime, it is important not to jump to conclusions. Our justice system presumes innocence unless guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. There are often many moving parts in theft investigations, and police officers do make mistakes. Overcharging does occur. And people are wrongly accused. Prosecutors often rely on witness testimony and surveillance video in these cases, but as evidence those things are not always reliable.
Nonetheless, individuals facing criminal charges should expect the prosecution to seek the harshest possible penalties. It is only fair that the accused has an aggressive criminal defense.
Source: News & Observer, “Raleigh police say woman stole $9,667 in lottery tickets, won only $2,616,” May 2, 2014