Adul Saosongyang, 35, was arrested on Monday after police say he stole his roommate's $10 million winning lottery scratcher.

  • California police say a man stole his roommate's $10 million winning lottery scratcher ticket and tried to cash it in himself.
  • They say 35-year-old Adul Saosongyang stole his roommate's winning ticket and switched it out with a forged lottery ticket.
  • One of his biggest mistakes was in the forgery. He mistakenly believed the ticket was worth $10,000 and not $10 million, police say.

    Vacaville Police released a copy of the altered ticket, which mistakenly shows the prize as $10,000 instead of $10 million.
    Vacaville Police Department

    The worst roommate of the year award goes to a California man who police say stole his roommate's winning $10 million lottery scratcher ticket – worth the equivalent of R140 million – and tried to pass it off as his own.

    Authorities in Vacaville say 35-year-old Adul Saosongyang went so far as to forge a winning ticket, which he swapped out with the real ticket while his roommate was sleeping. But he allegedly made one big mistake - he said the ticket was worth $10,000 instead of $10 million.

    According to a Facebook post from the Vacaville Police, Saosongyang's roommate went to a Lucky grocery store on December 20 and purchased a $30 (R400) lottery scratcher. He completed the scratch-off and realised it was a winner, believing the total payout was $10,000, so he rushed home to tell his roommates the good news.

    The next morning, the man went to the Lottery's District Office in Sacramento to collect his winnings, but was informed that the ticket was a forgery. Suspecting that one of his roommates stole the ticket, he went to the police to file a report.

    Police say his suspicions were confirmed when the following day, Saosongyang went to the lottery office and tried to cash in the winning ticket himself. Saosongyang wasn't able to immediately collect the winnings since all prizes over $600 are immediately investigated by the state's lottery board.

    When they learned that the ticket might be stolen, lottery officials began working with the Vacaville Police to determine the real winner. They reviewed surveillance footage at the Lucky grocery store, which showed the roommate coming in to buy the winning ticket, and Saosangyang returning to the store a few hours later to get a ticket of his own.

    "They determined [Saosongyang] had purchased a similar Scratcher Lottery Ticket, altered it, and swapped it with the winning ticket," the police statement reads.

    Police say one of Saosongyang's biggest mistakes was incorrectly altering the winning amount on the fake ticket to $10,000, since that's the amount his roommate believed he had won. Apparently neither realised the winning ticket was actually worth $10 million.

    On January 7, lottery officials invited Saosongyang to the district office to collect his winnings, but arrested him instead on a charge of grand theft.

    The charge can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony, but it's not clear which type of charge Saosongyang will face, according to the Washington Post.

    The Vacaville, California grocery store where the roommate bought the winning ticket is pictured above.

    Lottery officials are still investigating the case, and will determine whether the roommate gets the money, according to CBS Sacramento.

    Vacaville Police Lt. Chris Polen told the Washington Post that he's "sure everything will work out in the end."

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