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Police in Mississippi say that in an attempt to unfairly claim a $100,000 prize, two men stuck the winning numbers onto a state lottery ticket.

It was highly unlikely that such a scheme would work, and it didn’t. The manipulation was immediately detected by Mississippi Lottery officials and they called the police.

Odis Latham, 47, and Russell Sparks, 48, were arrested by the Flowood Police and charged with conspiracy to commit a felony and uttering a counterfeit instrument over $1,000. Latham was also charged with providing false identification.

Both troublemakers are being held at the Rankin County Jail, and they are expected to appear in court on Jan. 7.

They Had No Idea

On November 25, the Mississippi Lottery started operations. That brought the number of states without a lottery to just five.

The state lottery commenced with 12 scratch-off variants. On January 30, sales of interstate Powerball and Mega Millions will begin.

As reported by casino.org, already, over 1,200 convenience stores and other businesses have become licensed retailers for the Mississippi Lottery. However, seemingly for Latham and Sparks, the two men have little knowledge on just how closely state lotteries are controlled and monitored.

Most people know that a winning ticket is verified not only by the numbers displayed, but also bar codes that computers can easily track. Mississippi Lottery spokesperson Meg Annison told the Clarion Ledger that Latham and Sparks appeared to have used glue in attempt to make it appear as if the ticket was redeemable for $100,000.

According to Annison, the lottery scans a bar code which discloses the true numbers. That, as well as the obvious modification of the ticket itself, made it easy to spot the men’s alleged crime.

Jimmy Keene didn’t need any Elmer’s. Last month, the Pelahatchie resident was going to work when he stopped at a gas station and decided to buy a $5 ticket for the $100,000 Jackpot scratch-off. He asked his boss to confirm he was seeing the numbers correctly when he arrived at work. He was – and he had won $100,000.

Possible Penalties

The two defendants are facing consequential penalties if found guilty on their charges, according to online legal resource Justia.

The Mississippi Code for conspiracy to commit a felony is punishable by up to five years in prison, plus a maximum $5,000 fine. Uttering a counterfeit instrument can come with a jail term as much as six months, and up to a $1,000 fine.

Though it doesn’t happen often, it’s not always the players trying to cheat the lottery, but the lottery itself. In 2017, Eddie Tipton, the previous security director of the Multi-State Lottery Association, confessed to rigging the Hot Lotto in a manner which let him know the outcomes of the game on three possible days each year.

Now 56 years old, Tipton was condemned to 25 years imprisonment in 2017.

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