Six people will be charged with theft in southern Long An Province for  allegedly cashing in two winning lottery tickets worth a total of VND3.6 billion (US$155,000) after telling their purchaser they were worthless.

Huynh Van Be Ba, 43, told police he bought six provincial lottery tickets at a cafe run by Huynh Thi Thu Suong in September 2017, while a friend,  Tran Van Thuyen, 49, purchased six tickets, according to VN Express.

Ba returned to the cafe the next morning and asked Suong, 48, to check  the results, as he was unsure how to do so. Ba said Suong had told him  he had not won anything and threw his tickets on the ground.

Ba retrieved one of the two tickets and asked Huynh Van Du, 61, to double check for him. Du was selling fish across the street at the time and put the ticket in his shirt pocket.

Later Ba and Thuyen went back to the cafe and Thuyen checked the tickets, discovering that he had won VND50 million (US$2,152). Ba’s two tickets had earned him a VND3.6 billion (US$155,000) prize.

When Ba asked Du and Suong for his tickets, they both denied having them. Two days later Du gave one winning ticket to his son, who then collected the prize and wired the money to Du’s bank account.

Suong she had given the other winning ticket to her husband and asked her sister to use some money to buy a house in Ho Chi Minh City. She allegedly kept the rest of the money for herself.

When Ba reported the theft to police Da admitted he had taken one ticket and returned the missing money. But Suong and her husband denied the allegation until police detained them eight months later.

Thanh Hoa District police said they would charge Suong, Du and four other people with stealing the two prize-winning lottery tickets.

Ba has so far received only VND2.1 billion ($90,410) of his winnings.