Florida couple accused of altering lottery scratch-off ticket to make it $1M winner

PENSACOLA, Fla. — A Florida couple is accused of altering a $50 scratch-off ticket into a $1 million winner and submitting it to the state’s lottery office to collect the prize, authorities said.

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Kira Lee Enders and Dakota Von Jones, both residents of the Panhandle city of DeFuniak Springs, were arrested last week, according to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.

Enders, 36, was arrested on April 18, according to Escambia County online court records. She was charged with grand theft of more than $100,000, presenting an altered state lottery ticket and altering a lottery ticket with intend to defraud.

Jones, 32, was arrested on April 16, online records show. He was charged with principal to grand theft, more than $100,000; principal to present altered state lottery ticket; and principal to alter lottery ticket with intent to fraud.

According to an affidavit, Enders went to the Florida Lottery offices in Pensacola on March 1 and attempted to submit an official claim for ownership and payment of a $1 million prize from a “500X The Cash” scratch-off ticket she claimed was purchased in DeFuniak Springs in nearby Walton County. She had signed the back of the ticket, but authorities were skeptical.

“The ticket had obvious alterations and is crudely pieced together from two separate actual scratch-off tickets,” the arrest warrant stated.

In the affidavit, deputies stated that the tickets were ripped horizontally, using the top half of one actual ticket and the bottom half of the other, WEAR-TV reported. A tipoff to lottery officials and deputies was that the words on the back of the tickets did not match up correctly.

“That fraudulently altered ticket now visually shows that it is a one-million-dollar prize winner,” the affidavit states.

Detectives met with Enders on March 11 at lottery headquarters in Pensacola. Jones accompanied her into the building and the couple were “immediately detained and separated for investigation.”

The $50 ticket had been ripped, and Enders allegedly told detectives that she originally lost the ticket. But when she found it, she said the ticket “had been rained on” and when she tried to scratch it off it “started falling apart.” She told investigators that she taped the ticket “so it wouldn’t get more ruined than it already was,” the affidavit stated.

“I did all that, yeah, then I was like, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t do that, it might mess it up,’” Enders allegedly told detectives, according to the affidavit. “But I can’t take it off now, it is what it is.

“I just stuck it back together, I didn’t know.”

Jones, meanwhile, told detectives that he rarely played lottery games. He added that he told Enders that lottery officials would not accept the ripped ticket because it looked “jank.”

The couple changed their stories several times, and the sheriff’s office said that based on their interviews, arrest warrants were issued for Enders and Jones.

“They thought that they could, they could crudely take two tickets and put them together and pretend as if they were a million-dollar winner,” Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons said.

According to Escambia County Sheriff’s Office online booking records, Enders and Jones were released from custody on Saturday after posting bail. Enders posted $20,000, while Jones posted $17,500, online records show.

Enders and Jones will be arraigned on May 10, online court records show.