Deputies: Stolen lottery tickets lead to extortion scheme


VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Stolen lottery tickets led to an extortion scheme that landed two men in jail, according to Volusia County Sheriff's Office investigators.

Investigators said when Ketan Patel, 46, the owner of a DeBary gas station, discovered a former employee was stealing lottery tickets he tried to extort money from the man and the man's sister.

According to investigators, Patel is alleged to have told the man that he would call law enforcement about the thefts and have the man and his sister deported if they did not give him $240,000.

Investigators said when the 27-year-old man, who admitted to stealing the tickets and cashing in the winnings, said he couldn't come up with the money, Patel reduced the demand to $110,000 and tried to get the man's sister to sell her car to help raise the money.

According to investigators, the former employee and his sister then contacted an attorney who arranged for a meeting with sheriff's investigators.

Chirag Patel, 43, was arrested Tuesday in DeBary and Ketan Patel, 43, was arrested in Seminole County. Each was charged with one count of threats or extortion and jailed on a $10,000 bond.