Florida Cashier Arrested For Trying To Exchange $600 Winning Lottery With $5 Bill She Pulled Out of Her Purse
Do you trust your store clerk with your lottery ticket?
Maybe you’ve won a few hundred bucks or more. Will the employee tell you — or pocket the ticket while telling you it’s a loser?
That happened this week at a Fort Myers store, according to the Florida Lottery Commission. A Winn-Dixie Liquors employee is accused of keeping a customer’s $600 winning ticket —and paying him only 5 bucks.
Crystelle Yvette Baton was charged with larceny grand theft on Monday.
Baton, 42, was caught because she scammed the wrong customer, cops say.
The man wasn’t a customer — he was an agent working undercover for the Florida Lottery Commission’s security division.
When the undercover agent approached Baton with the winning ticket, she scanned it and realized it was worth $600. But instead of telling the man, investigators said she quietly pulled $5 out of her purse and told the man that was the “winning” ticket’s payoff.
Miami-Dade Police believe this man took part in swindling $10,000 from a South Dade woman in a lottery scam in October.
Shortly after, the agent went back to the store to bust Baton. The winning ticket was found hidden in her notebook.
Seems the Lottery Commission makes these random visits to sellers to make sure the games are played properly.
“Anyone that is working in a customer service job, you think that they are doing what is in your best interest. I would be very upset if someone took that from me,” Winn-Dixie customer Nadina Puzic told WBBH NBC2.
A reader, posting on the NBC2 website on Wednesday, said the scam isn’t unusual. “This is much more common than you would think. I put my name on the back always, and always notice when the cashier checks the back before she determines whether it won something or not. A favorite trick, pretend to throw ticket away after telling someone they did not win anything, and then when they leave, pull it out of the trash and collect.”
Jacksonville-based Winn-Dixie responded with a statement:
“We are taking this matter very seriously as the trust and safety of our customers is our highest priority. The associate’s employment has been terminated.”
Baton posted a $5,000 bond on Tuesday. Her trial date is set for Feb. 26.
The lesson, even if it gnaws at you a bit for not trusting your fellow human: Make use of the Florida Lottery Commission’s electronic checkers that are placed on the counters near the lottery machine. You’ll save time, too, if there’s a line.
Part of me feels bad for Crystelle Yvette Baton, age 42 (going on 62 by the looks of her) because with a spelling like C-R-Y-S-T-E-L-L-E she never really stood much of a chance for being a contributing member of society.
Crystelle thought she could pull a fast one on a customer by exchanging their winning lottery ticket for a $5 bill that came directly out of her purse. I mean this idea seemed fool proof from the start because people exchanging winning lottery tickets never know how much they're about to receive. It's always a mystery. Could be 2 dollars, could be 2 million. Then when they do finally receive their winnings it is accustomed for the person working to give the winnings directly out of their purse or wallet. As everybody knows. So, so far, so good, everything seems above board.
Unfortunately for Crystelle in a twist of fate, it turns out the person she was trying to bamboozle was an undercover agent working on the lottery security division. Thank Heavens it was a trained professional because had it not been she would've ripped off some poor regular Joe off the street.
Seriously though, dumb criminals always fascinate me, and boy oh boy do we have a dumb criminal on our hands here. Crystelle, how could you have ever thought for even a millisecond that this plan would work? I hate to be so judgmental given that I am currently 26 years old without a full-time job writing this blog to an audience of nobody, but at least I have not one but two college degrees and if in Crystelle's shoes would've had enough intelligence to realize this elaborate stunt was doomed from the start.
I don't know if you play the lottery or not, but as a broke person I do. Let me tell you something, when you finally win a little something and try to exchange it like 99.9% of the time, maybe even more you know exactly what is coming your way. If I had a powerball ticket with the just powerball, I know I'm getting $4. Had she been dealing with a normal person don't you think they'd realize their ticket that was supposed to be $600 was a little short when you handed an five spot? Contrary to popular belief $600 and $5 look nothing alike. Even if the person was blind they could've been able to tell the difference between five singles and six one hundred dollar bills. That's just basic arithmetic.
Let's say somehow for the sake of argument the customer doesn't notice you gave them $595 less dollars than they were anticipating. Don't you think it'd be a little more convincing to take $5 out of the drawer and replace with your own money afterwards? As soon as you start see someone paying out out of their own pocket at a store every basic instinct (s/o Sharon Stone) would be to realize something is a little fishy. I worked in a restaurant for five years where at times I would work the cash register. Not a single time did I give someone change out of my wallet instead of the register.
After being caught red handed with the winning ticket in her notebook Crystelle was fired from her job, and charged with larceny grand theft, sure people make mistake's but imo anybody willing to steal a winning lottery ticket from another human should be tried to the fullest extent of the law. I'd give her 20 years to think about what she's done. Nobody this scummy or stupid should be allowed on the streets, and I hope the judge arrests her parents if they're still alive for spelling her name that way.