Lottery Tickets Win Him Year in Prison, 2nd Arrest

Times Staff Writer

Just hours after becoming the first person to be sentenced to prison for altering California lottery tickets, Gerald O. Miller was arrested again on Monday in a separate but almost identical incident.

Lottery security agent Don Gross said a new arrest warrant was served on Miller in the Orange County Jail in Santa Ana, where he has remained in custody since his arrest last month.

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

Miller 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. Initially, the 39-year-old La Mirada man was 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 that 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 that would make alteration of a lottery ticket punishable as forgery.

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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