A shop worker has been jailed for 30 months for trying to claim a winning £1m lottery ticket belonging to a pensioner couple.
Farrakh Nizzar, 30, told Maureen Holt her EuroMillions ticket was a loser – and asked her if she wanted the ticket back.
Mrs Holt, 78, and her husband Fred, 80, told him to bin the seemingly worthless ticket.
In fact, when Nizzar scanned the ticket at his cousin’s Best One shop in Oldham, Greater Manchester, where he worked, the terminal told him the holder should contact Camelot.
Nizzar, whose visa had expired and who is due to be deported to Pakistan, kept the ticket and later called the lottery company himself in an attempt to keep the prize.
But the firm became suspicious when he was unable to answer questions about the winning ticket.
Camelot checked CCTV and traced the rightful owners of the ticket using Mr Holt’s Tesco Clubcard to unite the couple with their £1m prize.
Nizzar pleaded guilty last month to one charge of fraud by false representation committed on May 31 this year.
He bowed his head and made no reaction as he was jailed at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester.
Passing sentence, Recorder Philip Cattan told the defendant: “This goes to the heart of public confidence in the National Lottery.
“The courts must demonstrate to you and to others that this type of fraud will be met by significant custody.”
A statement from the couple said: “We can now look forward to enjoying our lottery win and spending some time with our family and friends. We understand the defendant has written a letter to us and we look forward to reading this.”
Detective Constable Kate Carnally said: “Whether it was a moment of madness in which he was blinded by the prospect of becoming a millionaire only he can know, but to cheat an elderly woman and try and claim the money for himself was both callous and underhand. Thankfully he did not get away with his scam.”