HOUSTON – A Houston man is facing charges for allegedly altering a scratch-off lottery ticket to claim a prize.
Allen Hudaifa, 57, is charged with claiming a lottery prize by fraud, a second-degree felony.
According to investigators with the Texas Lottery Commission,
Hudaifa brought a scratch-off ticket to the Houston Claim Center in February of 2010, saying he’d won $1,000 a week for 20 years.
Hudaifa filled out the winner claim form and told officials he’d bought the ticket at a Fiesta in Houston.
But upon examination, a Texas Lottery Commission forensic examiner found that the ticket was not a winner, but had been altered to appear that it was.
Specifically, the investigator said a "5" and a "4" had been cut out and put into different positions on the ticket to make it look like a winner. The investigator said the numbers were secured with Scotch tape.
According to court documents, investigators went to Hudaifa’s home in April to question him about the ticket.
They said Hudaifa again told them he’d purchased the ticket at a Fiesta and scratched it himself.
Investigators said Hudaifa told them he’d immediately recognized the ticket as a winner and hadn’t altered it in any way. He also said the ticket was never in anyone else’s possession after it was purchased.
Investigators returned to Hudaifa’s home a few days later with an enlarged color copy of the ticket.
They said at that point, Hudaifa acknowledged that it appeared to be altered, but his only explanation was that someone must have gotten hold of the ticket and changed it before it was scratched.
Investigators said they asked Hudaifa if the numbers had been covered in latex when he scratched the ticket, and he said yes.
When they asked how someone could have altered the numbers beneath the latex without removing it, investigators said Hudaifa had no answer.
A warrant was issued on Thursday for Hudaifa’s arrest.