Floral Park stores hit by lottery scam

By Howard Koplowitz

Spokeswoman Jennifer Mauer said the lottery had received complaints from two store owners earlier this month: one was able to get the tickets voided while the other stopped the fraud before it was perpetrated and called police.Two Floral Park retailers said the scam starts off by a man asking for $500 book of scratch-off tickets and then requesting additional tickets. When the vendor reaches for the other tickets, the man walks out with the $500 book.Aby Korah, the owner of Delite Traders on Hillside Avenue, said he was aware of the scam and his quick-thinking prevented him from becoming a victim.He said two Indian men in their 20s entered his store last week and one asked him for a $500 book of scratch-off tickets. But he said that amount set off an alarm in his head because he knew that was the amount asked for in other cases where the theft was carried out.”I said, 'Give me the money.' He said he needed more tickets. So I knew this guy was trying to cheat me,” Korah said. “Their plan didn't work out.”He said as the men were leaving he jotted down their car's license plate number and told them the police were coming, but they ran away. The store did have a surveillance camera, but it is only turned on at night, according to Korah.But another Floral Park store owner was not so lucky as he said a man got away with stealing $620 in scratch-offs.The owner, who only wanted to go by his last name, Shah, said an Indian man asked for $620 in the tickets but then went outside. He came back and asked for more tickets and the $620 worth was gone.Police from the 105th Precinct would only say that they were aware of the scam but could not comment on details of the incidents.In the wake of the alleged incidents, Mauer said the lottery sent notices about the scams to its retailers in Queens, Nassau County and Brooklyn. Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173

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