Mississippi Men Arrested After Trying to Cash $100,000 Scratch-Off Lottery Ticket With Glued-On Numbers

Two men were arrested in Mississippi on Monday after being accused of trying to cash in a forged $100,000 lottery ticket containing numbers that were glued on.

Odis Latham, 47, and Russell Sparks, 48, of Columbus, were detained by officers from the Flowood Police Department on Monday morning after officials from the Mississippi Lottery Corporation said the pair went to its headquarters to claim the winnings, The Clarion-Ledger reported.

Police were contacted around 9:20 a.m. after staff quickly identified the scratch-off ticket as fake. Officials said it was far from convincing.

"It ended up being a counterfeit ticket, it's what the industry calls a cut-and-paste," Jay Ledbetter, director of security at the Mississippi Lottery Corporation," told local media outlet WAPT.

"It was visibly a fraud but we also scanned the front side and back side," he added, stressing there are multiple ways to test a ticket's legitimacy, including barcode and serial number checks.

"We double-checked it and it was not a winning ticket," Ledbetter continued. "The only thing that made it a winning ticket was they cut some numbers off a second ticket and glued them onto this one. I don't know how they expected to pass this ticket off, it was not a good job."

Latham and Sparks were charged with conspiracy to commit a felony and uttering a counterfeit instrument over $1,000. According to WLBT, Latham was facing an additional charge for providing false ID information, and both are scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.

The suspects were transported to Rankin County Jail and held without bond.

Trying to profit from a fake ticket carries a sentence of between one and 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine, WAPT reported. The Mississippi Lottery Corporation has been contacted for comment.

Under the current rules, the organization says prizes of $100,000 or more have to be claimed at the Mississippi Lottery headquarters. Tickets are void if they are "irregular in any manner."

In addition, the Mississippi Lottery Corp.'s policies note altered tickets will not be paid, stating: "Altered tickets or tickets printed in error received shall be forwarded to the director of security for investigation."

The state's lottery's first scratch-off games launched on November 25 last year. An image of the $100,000 jackpot ticket is available online. It asks players to match four numbers to win.

The lottery corporation warns that scams designed to target other players are "relatively common and can look very real."

In October last year, a Florida woman working for a retail store was arrested after allegedly scratching lottery tickets and scanning them to check if they had any winning numbers.

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File photo: Scratch lottery ticket. Two men were arrested in Mississippi this week after being accused of trying to cash in a forged $100,000 lottery ticket containing numbers that were glued on. iStock