Arwa Farraj, an immigrant from Jordan, was working at the Circle K convenience
store in La Verne, California, on Christmas Day 1999 when she bought a lottery
ticket. The next day, she showed the ticket to her supervisor, assistant store
manager Gurinder Ruby, who told her it was worth $88 and paid her the money
from his own pocket.
But that was no $88 ticket.
About a month later, Farraj was told by another employee that Ruby had won
a lottery jackpot worth $8 million. Surmizing what really had happened, she
immediately went to police and state lottery officials, who agreed she had been
duped. But they said they could do nothing, because Ruby had already claimed
the jackpot and sent much of the money overseas, according to her lawyer, Browne
Nevertheless, Farraj sued both Ruby and Circle K Stores in February 2000.
Late last month, a jury ordered them to pay Farraj $7.9 million to compensate
her for emotional distress and for the value of the winning ticket.
The jury heard some compelling evidence: The store's surveillance tape had
been erased during the five minutes when Farraj purchased her ticket; store
time sheets showed that Ruby was not in the store during the time stamped on
the ticket; and his bank records revealed that he had paid the store manager
$11,500 shortly after collecting the jackpot, Greene said.
"We got so much evidence at the end of this that the jury really had no
choice," Greene said.
Reuters, via Yahoo!