The unidentified victim bought the $30 Scratchers ticket at a Lucky supermarket in Vacaville, about 45 miles southwest of Sacramento, according to the Vacaville Police Department.
But the ticket turned out to be a victor, and promised to flood his bank account with US$10,000 (NZ$15,000), or so he thought.
He returned home and shared this wonderful news with his 2 roommates.
That same day, Adul Saosongyang, the now-devastated man's roommate, made the same trip to the Lottery District Office, hoping to collect the $10,000. The victim suspected that one of his roommates must have stolen the actual winning ticket and filed a report with the police department. He was told it was worth $10 million, not $10,000.
Saosongyang was not able to immediately walk away with the prize money.
But the next day the real ticket surfaced when his roommate tried to turn in the victor.
Adul Saosongyang, 35, is accused of stealing his roommate's winning scratch card and trying to cash in for U.S. $10 million. And the probe quickly dovetailed with the Vacaville Police Department's investigation into the missing lottery ticket.
They determined that Saosangyang had, in fact, bought another ticket, altered it, then switched it for his roommate's winning ticket - all while believing it worth a fraction of what it actually was.
The alleged forgery even had the wrong winning amount listed: $10,000 instead of $10 million.
He went to collect his fortune the next day, but was told that his lottery ticket was not a victor.
The suspected theft was yet to be reported to the Lottery District Office but, as standard procedure for any winnings over $800, the office started conducting their usual security checks on Saosongyang.
Saosongyang went to collect his winnings on Monday in Sacramento but was instead greeted by Vacaville police officers.
On Monday, the investigator summoned Saosongyang to the Sacramento office to collect his winnings.
Saosongyang was booked into jail on suspicion of grand theft.
"Although, I'm sure everything will work out in the end", he concluded in an email to The Washington Post, adding a smiley face.