A Toronto convenience store owner admitted the temptation was too great when he stole a tax-free lottery ticket worth $5.75 million from a customer.
Hafiz Malik will be sentenced in June after pleading guilty to bilking Lorraine Teicht by saying her Lotto 6-49 ticket wasn't a winner.
In fact, it won the jackpot and Malik waited seven months to cash his pilfered prize in January 2005.
Prosecutor Philip Perlmutter asked Judge Rebecca Shamai to sentence Malik, 63, to 21/2 years in prison for defrauding Teicht and three fellow employees of the Toronto Catholic District School Board who shared the ticket.
The fraud cost Teicht, 56, who died of cancer on April 5, two things she could never replace: trust and time, Perlmutter said.
When the others learned their regular numbers had won, they accused Teicht of stealing the winnings before an investigator determined a link to Malik.
Each of the real winners received $1.6 million along with about $200,000 in interest in December 2007.
"It was a split-second impulsive decision presented to him (Malik) and he capitalized on it," defense lawyer John Filiberto said.
Palin speaks to crowd of 900 in Hamilton
You betcha, hockey mom Sarah Palin likes Canada — just as Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and other American politicians do.
It's a fertile ground for giving six-figure speeches to audiences as Palin did Thursday in Hamilton, Ontario, the city that wanted to become the next home to the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes.
Nine hundred people each paid $200 to hear the former Alaska governor, with 100 of them paying $1,000 to have a photo taken and receive her autographed book.
Accompanied by husband Todd, Palin spoke about family values to the captivated crowd.
Palin in person is "taller, thinner and even a tad more articulate than she appeared during her disastrous run on the Republican presidential ticket in 2008," Michelle Mandel wrote in the Toronto Sun.
"But I still don't think America's neo-con glamour girl is quite ready for prime time in the Oval Office," she added.
News in brief
• Canadian Governor General Michaelle Jean has confirmed that her five-year term will not be extended when it ends in September. Jean, who was born in Haiti, became one of the most popular appointees as Queen Elizabeth's representative in Canada. There is no word from Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office of his choice for her successor.
• The Canadian Auto Workers union wants the government to double benefits under the Canada Pension Plan to make sure the fund doesn't run out of money. President Ken Lewenza said up to 72 percent of workers don't have a workplace pension. The government is holding cross-country hearings to discuss reforming the system.
Facts and figures
Fallout from the news that Goldman Sachs has been charged with fraud pulled down the Canadian dollar as oil prices fell and affected Canadian stock markets.
The dollar again touched parity with the U.S. currency before declining Friday to 98.68 cents U.S. The U.S. dollar returned $1.0134 Canadian, before bank exchange fees.
Stock markets were lower, with the Toronto exchange index at 10,134 points and the TSX Venture Exchange at 1,666 points.
The prime lending rate remains at 2.25 percent as the Bank of Canada's key interest rate is steady at 0.25 percent.
Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 9, 12, 20, 28, 33 and 46; bonus 10. (April 10) 7, 9, 23, 25, 27 and 41; bonus 15. Lotto Max: (April 9) 11, 16, 29, 30, 31, 33 and 42; bonus 24.
• Drugstore chains are battling plans by the Ontario government to cut costs by ending the payment of "professional allowances" estimated at $750 million a year. The money is paid to pharmacists by generic drug companies to carry their products. Shoppers Drug Mart said it would cut hours and charge for deliveries in some areas, while Rexall warned it would cut staff, student interns and charge for deliveries to protest.
• There are warnings of a "long, hot summer" for gas pipeline bombings in northeast British Columbia. A suspected bomber warned in a letter to a newspaper that attacks on energy facilities, which stopped last year, will resume near Dawson Creek. No one has been injured in the incidents at EnCana Corp. facilities.
• A brief return of winter weather on Friday in St. John's, Newfoundland, was enough to snarl traffic and flights. Most of the winter plows were no longer available as crews worked to clear streets of about 4 inches of snow accompanied by high winds and freezing rain.
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com.