CARLISLE, Pa. — A man who, as a practical joke, re-created an $853,000 winning lottery ticket on his home computer and then left it in the lunch room at work, slightly hidden under some newspapers, in the hopes that one of his co-workers might claim it so that he could then embarrass them with the bad news, got a surprise himself.
What the prankster hadn’t counted on is one of his co-workers secretly pocketing the fake ticket and then actually trying to redeem it with lottery officials. Of course, in the endless list of practical jokes gone bad, that’s exactly what happened. Not knowing the ticket was a phony, the co-worker attempted to cash the ticket at lottery headquarters and told inquiring lottery investigators that he had purchased the ticket himself thinking that their questioning was an attempt to establish a de facto ownership right to it. To his dismay, rather than receiving his winnings, he was instead promptly arrested for trying to pass a fake lottery ticket. He was later charged with providing an unsworn falsification when the criminal investigation revealed the joke. A jury has since acquitted him.
As for the practical joker, well he got a year of probation and a $2,500 fine for creating the fake ticket and masterminding the prank.
For the record:
The co-worker has also asked the court to order the prankster to pay his legal fees, some $12,000, that he incurred as a result of his arrest for attempting to cash the fake lottery ticket.