Worker accused of stealing $40k in lottery tickets from Deer Park Deli
Now the deli’s owners have to pay it back.
DEER PARK, Ohio (WXIX) - A woman faces criminal charges after allegedly stealing more than $40,000 in lottery tickets from the family-owned Deer Park store where she once worked.
Emilee Ellis, 34, was an employee at Deer Park Deli. A Hamilton County grand jury indicted her Monday on charge of felony theft.
Kevin Kolthoff is part-owner of the deli along with his brother. It’s been in the family for 75 years.
Kolhoff says the Ohio Lottery began an investigation because of the amount of scratch-off ticket sales the store was generating.
“The lottery was like, how come you’re selling this many? It was like, no other store is selling this many,” Kolhoff said.
According to court documents, Ellis took scratch-off lottery tickets from the back office, marked them as sold and then cashed out the winning tickets.
“At first, we didn’t know how much it was. We thought it may have been like one thousand bucks here or there,” Kolhoff said. “But we never though it would be $40,000. I mean, it almost bankrupted us. It’s going to take a long time to recover.”
Current employee Janna DeZarn says the toll is being felt by everyone at the deli.
“Somebody that can just do that and still come to work every day and act like nothing is wrong, yes, that gets you... makes you angry sometimes,” she said.
DeZarn has been working at the deli for 15 years. She says over that time, she’s grown close to Kolthoff, and it hurts to see someone take advantage of the business.
“They’re good people, and somebody just took a lot of money from them,” she said. “They’re a great family. They have a lot of respect in the neighborhood, an it was just a tragedy what happened. You’re angry. You’re upset. It hurts you.”
Kolthoff says the Ohio Lottery is still continuing the investigation.
Ellis will appear in court on June 9.
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