An employee of a local convenience store was arrested Sunday on multiple counts of lottery fraud after allegedly stealing lottery tickets delivered to her store last month and attempting to cash them.
Shakenyah Louise James, 22, who lists a Broadview Street address, was taken into custody in the 200 block of Blacksnake Road by Mountain Pine police on felony warrants for nine counts of lottery fraud, each punishable by up to six years in prison, and a misdemeanor count of theft of property under $1,000, punishable by up to one year in jail.
James was being held on $23,500 bond and appeared via video Monday in Garland County District Court where she pleaded not guilty to all the charges. A felony review hearing is set for July 1.
According to the probable cause affidavit, on April 8, Michael Tenison with the Arkansas Lottery fraud division contacted Hot Springs police regarding 150 stolen lottery tickets, with a total value of $300, that were taken from the Shell station, 866 Park Ave.
He stated the tickets were delivered by UPS on April 1, shortly after 4:30 p.m., and signed for by an employee, identified as James. Tenison noted the tickets had not been activated so they could not be redeemed for the cash prize.
Tenison discovered one ticket was scanned on April 1 at the Shell Station. Seven other tickets were scanned at the Exxon, 1200 Central Ave., the next day and one ticket was scanned at the Phillips 66, 200 E. Grand Ave., on April 3.
Tenison alleged James was the person attempting to pass the tickets. While working at the Shell, she allegedly scanned the first ticket and when the system refused to accept it, she called the lottery commission to complain there was a problem with the system.
Tenison told detectives he observed photos from the Exxon and Phillips 66 showing James attempting to scan the other eight tickets.
Detective Shawn Stillian obtained video from the Shell on the day of the incident that reportedly showed James working behind the counter when UPS delivered a white bag containing 300 lottery tickets. She signed for the package and then reportedly opened the bag with scissors and put the bag under the counter.
James then allegedly removed some of the lottery tickets and exited the store with an unknown black male. James and the man re-entered the store and James went behind the counter and scanned one ticket several times. She was then seen calling the lottery commission to complain, corroborating Tenison’s statement.
The affidavit notes James was the only employee in the video and the store’s owner later confirmed she was the only employee working at the time of the incident. A warrant for her arrest was issued on May 1.