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Shop owner accused of launching fake hunt for lottery winner in bid to keep £4.05 million prize

Shop owner accused of launching fake hunt for lottery winner in bid to keep £4.05 million prize

Police are investigating a shop owner for suspected fraud suspicious as to whether he truly tried to track down the rightful owner.

Police are investigating a lottery ticket seller for suspected fraud after suspicions arose over whether he truly tried to track down its rightful owner.

In June 2012, a ticket sold by shop owner Manuel Reija González in A Coruña, Spain came up trumps in the La Primitiva lottery. However, the owner of the ticket didn't come forward.

After discovering the ticket in a lost property box, González seemingly launched a hunt to find the rightful ticket owner - the story making national news - and was widely praised for his efforts.

The winning ticket was for €4.7 million (£4.05 million).
Euro News

However, police now believe the shop owner may be guilty of defrauding the rightful owner and trying to cash in the €4.7 million (£4.05 million) himself.

González hit headlines 11 years ago when he announced he would be launching a search for the rightful owner of the ticket.

He told the BBC at the time: "I never for a moment thought about keeping it because I wanted to be able to sleep well at night with a clear conscience."

González said he thought 'the best thing to do was just to return to ticket'.

"This story of honest is almost too incredible to believe," Huff Post even reported.

Despite being hailed a good samaritan, lottery authorities later became suspicious of González and a judge ordered police to investigate the shop owner for possible fraud.

Shop owner Manuel Reija González is being investigated by police.
Euro News

Police now allege González told the rightful owner of the ticket it was worth just over a euro and then attempted to cash it in himself with his brother - who worked at the Spanish lottery.

Authorities have also since tracked down the lottery ticket's rightful owner.

Despite 317 people coming forward claiming to be the rightful ticket owner, it was later discovered the winning combination of numbers has been used by a person from A Coruña on multiple lottery draws since, in places such as Mallorca and Costa del Sol.

According to chief inspector José Manuel López, police subsequently believe the original ticket holder is 'someone with plenty of free time who took the Christmas and Easter holiday somewhere warm, probably a pensioner.'

The lottery owner was widely praised at the time for his supposed efforts to track down the ticket's rightful owner.
Euro News

Police have since revealed they managed to track down the wife of the ticket buyer through a holiday scheme for the elderly called Imserso.

However, they discovered the original purchaser sadly passed away in 2014.

González and his brother deny any wrongdoing, but face charges of money laundering and deceit.

If found guilty, the prosecution has asked for González to receive a six-year sentence.

The prosecution also requested the lottery winnings go to the original ticket holder's widow and daughter.

Featured Image Credit: Euro News

Topics: World News, National Lottery, Money