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Uncle Claims Niece Swiped $326,000 Prize

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (CN) - A man's niece swiped a $326,000 lottery ticket after he gave her $4,000 to buy lottery tickets for him, the uncle claims in court.

Nick Cano sued Sonia Qurgoa, her husband George Ghazaly, and their business, a Stop and Buy store, in Superior Court.

Cano claims his niece duped him after he gave her and her husband $4,000 to play the California Lottery when it had a $200 million jackpot.

On March 16, 2012, Cano says in the complaint, "he withdrew $5,500 from his checking account and entered into an agreement with his niece, Sonia Qurgoa ('Qurgoa') and George Ghazaly ('Ghazaly'). Defendants were the owners of the Stop and Buy and defendants were contracted with the California Lottery to sell tickets. The California Mega Lottery had a jackpot of over $200,000,000.00 and Nick Cano wanted to play the lottery. Plaintiff gave $4,000.00 of his money to his niece's husband, George Ghazaly and his niece, Sonia Qurgoa, to play the lottery. Plaintiff and defendants agreed that George Ghazaly and Sonia Qurgoa would purchase $4,000.00 worth of California Mega Lottery tickets and hold the tickets on behalf of Nick Cano for the California Lottery drawing on March 16, 2012."

Cano claims that Qurgoa and Ghazaly took his money but could not buy all the tickets at once because other people were coming into the store to buy lotto tickets.

"So, Nick Cano requested that his niece and her husband purchase the tickets on his behalf and hold them until he was able to claim his prize(s). Defendants agreed to hold the tickets and Nick Cano and his niece were to insert the tickets in the machine to determine if Nick Cano won any prizes on Sunday, March 18, 2012," according to the complaint.

When he asked for his money, his niece told him he had won only $150, Cano says.

"This was not a true statement and one of the tickets that Nick Cano had purchased with his $4,000.00 was a 'winning ticket' with a value of $326,163.00," the complaint states. "His niece, Sonia Qurgoa and her husband, George Ghazaly lied to Nick Cano and in fact, Nick Cano had won $326,163.00. The defendants, and each of them, lied to and stole the winning lottery ticket of Nick Cano for their own use. This theft and taking was done while defendants were under an agreement with the California Lottery to operate the lottery in an honest and just manner. The actions of defendants were a breach of their oral contract with Nick Cano and their written agreement with the California Lottery to act honorably in relation to the lottery and their customers."

In addition to the $326,000, Cano says, he is suffering from "severe emotional distress" at being lied to and having his winning ticket stolen by his niece.

He seeks compensatory, special and punitive damages for conversion, breach of faith and fair dealing, negligent misrepresentation, concealment, and emotional distress.

He is represented by Jesse L.B. Hill.

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