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Lotto lies: Japan man nabbed for alleged attempt to grab millions with fake ticket

Crowds are seen gathering to buy tickets at the opening of sales for the 2018 end of the year jumbo lottery on Nov. 21, 2018, at an authorized ticket center in Nakamura Ward, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture -- the same area where Tomoaki Yamamoto is accused of presenting a fake ticket. (Mainichi/Koji Hyodo)

NAGOYA -- A man who allegedly tried to use a forged lottery ticket to claim the 700 million yen ($6.45 million) top prize for the Dec. 31, 2018 end of the year jumbo lottery was arrested on the spot by police on Jan. 6.

Suspect Tomoaki Yamamoto, 42, an unemployed resident of Yokkaichi in Mie Prefecture, central Japan, was arrested on suspicion of attempted fraud by Aichi Prefectural Police's Nakamura Police Station. The deadline to exchange tickets for winnings associated with the 2018 draw was Jan. 6, 2020. Yamamoto reportedly denies the accusation, saying, "It's one of the lottery tickets I bought from a legitimate seller."

Yamamoto is suspected to have tried to get his hands on the draw's 700 million yen by presenting a fake winning ticket to a male bank employee, 40, at a branch of Mizuho Bank in Nagoya's Nakamura Ward, central Japan, on the afternoon of Jan. 6. However, the employee saw through the ruse, and the attempt ended in failure.

According to police, the bank employee informed them over the 110-emergency number, "I have a customer here with a lottery ticket that appears to have been forged." Police did not reveal further details, but did say that if looked at just briefly, it wouldn't be possible to tell if the ticket was counterfeit.

(Japanese original by Masashi Taguchi, Nagoya News Center)

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