A Sun Valley man, the first person in the San Fernando Valley to be convicted of felony forgery for tampering with a lottery ticket, was sentenced Thursday to three years' probation and 40 hours of community work.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Harold S. Lynn said he argued for a prison term for Jose Estrada because it "would act as a deterrent to other people." But at the sentencing, San Fernando Superior Court Judge Howard J. Schwab reduced the charge to a misdemeanor after studying a probation report. Estrada pleaded guilty in January to felony forgery.
In the probation report, state lottery officials said Estrada was cooperative and had learned his lesson.
Last October, Estrada tried to collect on a $5,000 lottery ticket that was actually two ticket halves merely pasted together, Lynn said. "It was not a sophisticated forgery," he said.
After spotting the forgery, state lottery investigators told Estrada that before he could claim his prize, he must report to their Sylmar office to verify his signature. Estrada was arrested when he showed up Nov. 8, 1985.
At the time, Estrada told police he did not know the ticket had been altered. He told investigators that an uncle, who was going back to Mexico, gave him the ticket and asked him to claim the winnings and send all but $100 to Mexico.