MELROSE — Local authorities may come down hard on the owner of a Franklin Street market accused of trying to dupe a mentally challenged woman out of Lottery winnings.
The owner of RD’s Deli & Market, Chang Cho of Churchill Circle in Winchester, is alleged to have attempted to swindle a local woman out of $10,000 she won on a Lottery scratch ticket. At the beginning of November, the resident thought she had won $1,000 and went to cash the ticket at the deli. The owner reportedly gave her $940 and explained that he had deducted taxes. Thinking this was suspicious — anything over a $600 win must be cashed at a main Lottery office — the resident’s family requested an investigation.
On December 17, following an investigation, Lottery officials informed the Melrose Police Department that Cho had lost his privileges to legally sell lottery tickets and told them the reason why. Melrose officers then picked up the investigation from there.
Police detectives were scheduled to meet Tuesday afternoon with representatives of the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office to determine what type of larceny charges to bring against Cho. In addition to the criminal matter, Cho’s Common Victualler license expired on Dec. 31, and the was exploring its options with regards to whether or not to renew the license, according to a report.
Police Chief Michael L. Lyle said, “These are troubling allegations, in which our investigation shows that a Melrose resident was taken advantage of and duped out of her rightful winnings. We continue to gather facts and expect to have a resolution to this case soon.”
The investigation is led by Melrose Police Sergeant Paul McNamara. Lyle emphasized in a press release that if anyone else feels that they may have been victimized out of money or Lottery winnings, that they should contact Sergeant McNamara at 781-979-4472 or by email at email@example.com. Members of the public with concerns can also call the Melrose Police Department at 781-665-1212. Anonymous tips can be submitted by phone at 781-665-TIPS (8477) or via email by visiting https://melrosepolice.net/tips/.
Lyle wasn’t the only one concerned about the RD’s incident. In a joint statement, Mayor Robert J. Dolan and Aldermanic President Donald Conn Jr. said:
“We are aware of recent allegations that a licensed lottery agent doing business in the City of Melrose committed an act of fraud against a mentally disabled woman. These actions anger and disgust us as community leaders, and they should anger and disgust every resident of this community. There is no place in Melrose for a business that preys on our residents, particularly our most vulnerable citizens. The Massachusetts State Lottery – in conjunction with our local police department – will continue to investigate this matter. As that investigation proceeds, the City of Melrose will simultaneously explore its options to determine if this business can continue to operate.
“We take great pride in the integrity and professionalism of our local business community, and we will continue to work to uphold that stellar reputation,” the statement concludes.
Eventually, the victim reportedly received all the money due her.