Florida couple accused of altering lottery scratch ticket to fake $1M win

Dakota Jones and Kira Enders were arrested in March 2024 after they allegedly attempted to submit a fraudulent, taped together lottery scratch-off ticket for a US$1-million prize. Escamba County Jail

Most people dream of winning the lottery someday, but one Florida couple is now facing criminal charges after they allegedly tried to achieve that dream with a fraudulent ticket declaring themselves the winners of US$1 million (about C$1.37 million).

Police said Dakota Jones and Kira Enders, from DeFuniak Springs in northern Florida, attempted to submit a phony scratch-off lotto ticket to claim the $1-million prize through a Florida Lottery office on March 1.

According to the Pensacola News Journal, which obtained the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office report, the fraudulent ticket was a US$50 “500X The Cash” scratcher. Authorities said Jones and Enders “carefully pieced together” two separate, horizontally ripped tickets with tape to make it appear as though the ticket was a grand prize winner.

Enders later told authorities she taped the ticket together because it fell from her car during a rainstorm.

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“Enders stated that she tried to scratch the ticket before it was dry and it started falling apart so she taped it so it wouldn’t get more ruined than it already was,” the report reads.

Six days after submitting their ticket, Enders followed up with the Florida Lottery office on the state of their winning claim. Over the phone, Special Agent Richard Pisanti told Enders and Jones to meet him on March 11.

Though the couple had expected to sign paperwork to do with their US$1-million win, the sheriff’s office report said Jones and Enders were “immediately detained and separated for investigation.”

They were charged with presenting a forged state lottery ticket, forging a lottery ticket with the intent to defraud and grand theft of US$100,000 or more. If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. During the investigation, Enders told Pisanti she brought the fake ticket to the Florida Lottery office because three different stores could not successfully scan the scratch-off.

When Pisanti showed Enders the writing on the back of the taped ticket did not align, Enders maintained that she must have reattached the ticket incorrectly.

For his part, Jones told authorities a different story about the ticket.

Jones told Pisanti he and Enders found the ticket on the ground, wet and already split in half, while walking through DeFuniak Springs. He said they brought home the two pieces of the scratch ticket, blow-dried it and played the game to win US$1 million.

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He later told authorities Enders knew the ticket was bogus, only to change his tune again and maintain they believed it was legit, the arrest report notes.

According to Fox 35, Jones told authorities he did not know it was a crime to submit a fraudulent lottery ticket.

Enders signed the claimant information on the back of the ticket, thereby declaring she was aware she could face legal consequences if the ticket was bogus. Escambia Sheriff Chip Simmons told CBS Miami the two tickets had been “crudely” attached.

“I don’t think this is going to be a made-for-TV movie type of situation,” he said.

Across the border in Canada, it is also illegal to submit a fraudulent lottery ticket.

In August 2023, an Ontario woman was charged with attempted fraud after she submitted a false claim for a $70-million Lotto Max prize.

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