WESTBORO, Mass. (AP) – A former gas station clerk has admitted stealing a winning lottery ticket worth $20,000 from a college student, telling her it was only worth $100.

Antoine Y. Reiche, 34, of Westboro told a Westboro District Court judge on Friday that he took the Lucky Stars ticket.

Prosecutors recommended a sentence of one year of probation and a restraining order that would prohibit him from having any contact with the victim, Erica Schmitt. Judge Michael Brooks did not impose a sentence, halting the case after Reiche’s attorney David Goodhue asked for more time to talk with Reiche.

The next court date is scheduled for April 1 at Concord District Court.

Reiche was charged with larceny over $250 in the Jan. 19 incident.

Prosecutors said Schmitt, 18, a student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, turned in the ticket with ten stars, a $20,000 prize. But Reiche took the ticket and told her it had only six stars, a $100 prize. He then allegedly refused to show her the ticket, so she went to police.

He was arrested later and turned the ticket over to police. Earlier this month, Schmitt received a check for $14,000, her winnings after taxes.

In court Friday, Goodhue said Reiche made a bad decision, but it wasn’t premeditated. Reiche apologized through an interpreter, saying, “I would like to say to the young lady, pardon, excuse me, I apologize.”

Brooks said Reiche’s actions were “reprehensible,” and gave him a week to write a formal letter of apology to Schmitt, who requested the letter.

AP-ES-03-27-04 1520EST

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