State's 1st Lottery Forger Accused Again : Prison Sentence for Attempted Theft Followed by More Bad News

Times County Bureau Chief

Just hours after Gerald O. Miller became the first person sentenced to prison for altering lottery tickets Monday, he got served with a second piece of bad news--in the form of an arrest warrant for an almost identical alleged violation.

Miller was still in the Orange County Jail in Santa Ana when the new arrest warrant was served, lottery security agent Don Gross said. Miller has been in custody since his initial arrest last month.

Gross said the new warrant was based on allegations similar to those in the Orange County case but involving an incident at a shopping mall in Los Angeles County. Miller will appear in court next month on the Los Angeles charge. In both cases, Gross said, Miller allegedly tried to sell phony $50,000 lottery tickets for $10,000.

Unavailable for Comment

Miller, 39, of La Mirada and his lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Hector M. Chaparro, were unavailable for comment.

Earlier Monday, Orange County Superior Court Judge James O. Perez sentenced Miller to a year in state prison after asking him if he was still sure about the guilty plea he entered two weeks ago.

Initially charged with forgery for allegedly attempting to sell a counterfeit $50,000 lottery ticket to a woman at a shopping mall, Miller was allowed to plead guilty on Feb. 20 to the lesser crime of attempted grand theft.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Carl Ilg dropped the forgery charge last week because of doubts that state forgery statutes apply to lottery tickets. Miller agreed to plead guilty after the judge indicated he would be sentenced to a year in state prison. The maximum sentence is 18 months.

"There's nothing in the law about lottery tickets," Ilg said at the time of the guilty plea.

The state Lottery Commission and several lawmakers have proposed legislation which would make alteration of a lottery ticket punishable as forgery.

Miller was arrested Feb. 3 in Placentia after he told a woman whom he had met at a mall that he would sell her a $50,000 lottery ticket for $10,000 because he was a Vietnam veteran and owed the government back taxes.

Miller had cut and pasted parts from several lottery tickets together to create phony $50,000 tickets and sold them to at least four people, authorities said.

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