In this crazy prize-winner story, the tale takes a turn and feels more like Bonnie and Clyde’s Powerball story.
Here’s a prize-winner story you haven’t heard before. A Pennsylvania couple won big with their lucky ticket. Unfortunately, the money they used to buy that ticket wasn’t exactly theirs. And this tale unravels like a real-life Bonnie and Clyde. It reads like an actual movie script.
How It All Began
It was reported back in 2016, but it’s a story that will live on in infamy. Joan Lechleitner and her fiancé, Kerry Titus, were former employees of the Agway grocery store in Cressona, Pennsylvania. That happened to be the store from which they bought their winning ticket, too.
Local officials shared details of the couple’s nefarious deeds upon their subsequent arrest. Apparently, during their tenure with the Agway, they stole money. Along with two other former employees of the store, the couple would ring up false returns on the registers and pocket the money. In total, it’s estimated that they collectively stole between May of 2011 through May of 2016, totaling roughly over $175,000.
Using the Stolen Funds to Buy Tickets
Joan and Kerry used some of their unlawfully obtained funds to buy some lottery tickets. And one of them proved to be worth a $1 million prize. Splitting the win with four other winners, the couple took home $261,904.50.
In an interview with the local media, the Republican Herald, the couple relished in their windfall and told reporters how they planned to spend their prize money. Joan said that Kerry had actually purchased the ticket, and the first order of business was to buy a new truck. The couple drove off with their brand-new Chevy Silverado almost immediately. And they had other plans to put in a pool at their home and take a Mexico vacation.
The Law Caught Up with Them
Call it fate or even karma. The law caught up with the real-life Bonnie and Clyde, thanks to some in-store cameras. The store’s owner, Ronald Yordy, had reviewed in the camera footage at the Agway, and the proof of where all that money went was right there. The suspects were caught not only stealing the money but also purchasing their tickets. It was a forensic audit that helped officials determine the total damages. And as later reports indicated, the couple was promptly arrested.
No Happy Ending
The charges mounted to include records tampering, theft, and conspiracy. The couple wouldn’t be taking their honeymoon vacation anytime soon. And unfortunately for Yordy, he had to borrow funds just to keep his grocery store in operation because the theft affected his bottom line so badly. The moral of this story is no matter how lucky you think you are, if you’ve stolen to get your win, you won’t have a happy ending either.
This couple isn’t the first Bonnie and Clyde tale of crime and jackpots. A Michigan couple won a $500,000 jackpot prize only to be later arrested under charges of burglarizing homes and stealing from elderly homeowners. A Florida husband and wife ran a scheme that allowed them to steal tickets, netting more than $236,000, before finally facing fraud, grand theft, and organized fraud charges. And in Canada, a convenience store employee and his daughter were arrested and fined for stealing a winning ticket.
These real-life Bonnie and Clyde stories serve as a cautionary tale. There’s never really going to be a happy ending if you try to win the Powerball or any jackpot prize by means of illegal activity or fraud. If you’re going to play, follow the rules and your moral compass. There are plenty of good-faith Powerball players out there with incredible stories to tell.