Couple arrested, charged with trying to claim thousands in cash prizes with altered scratch tickets at St. Croix casino


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ST. CROIX - A Clifton Hill couple was arrested during the weekend and accused of trying to defraud Divi Carina Bay Casino out of $8,000 in prize money by altering scratch-off tickets.

Mathias Matthew, 65, and Fransisca Herman, 50, appeared before Magistrate Jessica Gallivan on Monday morning to be advised of their rights on charges of forgery and grand larceny.

According to the police report filed by V.I. Police Detective Mark Corneiro, just before 5:30 p.m. Friday, he was called by one of the casino managers, who reported that the Matthew and Herman had tried to claim cash prizes with altered tickets at the casino.

Corneiro said he met with the manager at the casino, who explained that Herman had presented tickets claiming that she had won $1,000 on one ticket and $5,000 on another and that Matthew had presented a ticket claiming that he had won $1,000 and had done the same the night before with another ticket also claiming a $1,000 win.

Corneiro said the scratch tickets are a promotion being run by the casino, and all tickets had possible winning prizes if the right boxes with money symbols were scratched, according to the police report.

He said the four tickets presented by Matthew and Herman were altered. He said they appeared to have taken a money symbol removed from another ticket and glued it onto another ticket in a box that had previously been scratched off.

Corneiro said he was able to determine that the tickets were altered, because as he rubbed his fingers across the surface of the ticket, he could tell the difference and felt that the surface on the altered portion was raised.

The two were arrested and declined to give a statement to police.

Bail was set at $35,000 for each of them, and they were allowed to sign an unsecured bond in the amount of bail to secure their release from prison Monday morning.

They were ordered to stay away from the casino while the case is pending and ordered not to have contact with any witness in the case.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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