Photo by Gustavo Castillo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by Gustavo Castillo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A clerk for a Santa Ana liquor store was arrested Tuesday on charges of illegally redeeming winning lottery tickets while selling losing tickets to customers.

Francis Bou Karam, 34, of Newport Beach, is accused of a type of fraud known as “pinning,” in which he would scratch off a small portion of lottery tickets to see if they were winners, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s office.

Karam worked at Craig Liquor in Santa Ana from the start of 2013 through Nov. 13.

Karam allegedly redeemed $50,000 in winning lottery tickets while ripping off the state lottery and customers of $100,000, the combined value of the winning and losing tickets, according to prosecutors.

Karam, who was being held on $150,000 bail, was charged with a count each of grand theft and computer access fraud as well as 23 counts of forgery, all felonies. He also faces sentencing enhancement allegations for aggravated white collar crime exceeding $100,000 and loss of more than $65,000.

Karam could face up to 18 years and four months in prison if he is convicted at trial.

City News Service

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