Store employee steals more than $250,000 worth of lottery tickets

Store clerk stole more than $250,000 worth of lottery tickets
Posted at 10:06 AM, Jan 24, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - A Tallahassee store clerk is accused of taking lotto tickets for himself without paying for them, costing the Florida Lottery more than $250,000.

Hutendra Shahi, who was a store clerk at Stop N Shop on West Brevard Street, has been charged with organized scheme to defraud $50,000 or more (first degree), grand theft over $100,000 (first degree), and tampering with physical evidence.

According to an investigation by the Florida Lottery Division of Security, Shahi had been printing large amounts of Florida Lottery online game tickets for his own use.

They say Shahi also played numerous scratch-off tickets from the store's inventory without paying for it. Investigators note that Shahi's wife owns the store. 

Officials say reports for Jan. 15 and Jan. 16 showed a high number of Pick 3 tickets being printed, totaling $42,255.50. 

An investigation revealed that since the store began selling tickets on Florida Lottery Pick 3 ticks on December 19, 2017, "tickets were being systematically printed in large numbers." 

Documents allege Shahi even went so far as to delete footage from the DVR inside the store, printing off and stealing more than 6,000 tickets in one instance. 

Investigators say the total loss incurred by the Florida Lottery was $255,299.79.

When investigators interviewed Shahi, he admitted to having a "gambling problem." He told officials he had been printing off the Pick 3 tickets for himself because he had a loan to repay. 

Based on the investigation, Shahi was charged and taken into custody on Tuesday.