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Store owner accused of lottery ticket fraud

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DUNN, NC (AP) -- Police have charged the owner of a store in Dunn after investigators say he kept a customer's winning lottery ticket worth nearly $90,000.

Police say Sureshbha Ishvarbhai Patel told Kecia Parker that her Carolina Cash 5 ticket was not a winner before trying to cash it himself at the North Carolina Education Lottery office in Raleigh on Feb. 8.

Lottery officials became suspicious when he tried to claim the winnings from the ticket Parker bought last August at Carolina Beach.

Patel is charged with felony larceny and obtaining property by false pretense. It wasn't clear if he has an attorney. Pop Mart's lottery operation has been suspended.

Police said Parker has played the same five numbers in the game since it started, which helped provide evidence for the fraud case.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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