Lottery guards against retailer fraud

DES MOINES — More than 170 Iowa Lottery retailers won $ 1,000 or more between July 2013 and mid-November, for a combine $ 1.57 million .
At least nine retailers who won $ 10,000 or more buy tickets or played in the stores where they work — some even validated their own wins .
Tracy Cole of Cedar Rapids, for model, bought two rub tickets April 12 during a break from her occupation as a cashier at Fareway, 4220 16th Ave. SW. The foremost tag was a $ 3 achiever. The second was worth $ 30,000 .
Cole verified her ticket on the shop ‘s lottery terminal, she told the Iowa Lottery in March.

‘We did n’t buy anything, per southeast, ‘ Cole told The Gazette about how she spent her winnings. ‘I did take the kids fishing up to Minnesota for the week. ‘
The Iowa Lottery started investigating retailer wins in 2011 after canadian reviews of retailer imposter that included a shop clerk stealing an aged Ontario man ‘s $ 250,000-winning ticket. holocene media reports in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Florida have called attention to unusually patronize wins by lottery retailers .
But as lottery retailer fraud gains national attention, Iowa Lottery officials say security precautions here ensure dozens of retail employees collecting jackpots each year are n’t breaking the rules .
‘It ‘s not that they ( security personnel ) are n’t checking, ‘ Iowa Lottery Spokeswoman Mary Neubauer said. ‘I think it ‘s just Iowa. In many small communities, the retailer knows the employees and the customers .

Database: Iowa Lottery retailers with jackpot wins

Click to see the lottery retailers won $ 1,000 or more between July 2013 and mid-November .
‘We have a lot of checks and balances in place. ‘
The Iowa Attorney General ‘s Office final workweek charged a Norwalk serviceman of attempting to defraud the Iowa Lottery of a $ 7.5 million Hot Lotto jackpot. Eddie R. Tipton, 51, worked as the security director for the Multi-State Lottery, which runs Hot Lotto .
As an employee, he was prohibited from playing lottery games .
Tipton is accused of buying the ticket in December 2010 and working with several other people to attempt to redeem it in November 2011. Lottery officials refused to pay out because they were n’t certain the slate was valid .
just american samoa lottery employees are banned from playing the games because of inside cognition or the sensing of injustice, some retailers are n’t allowed to play .
british Columbia banned lottery retailers and their employees from purchasing, playing or validating their personal lottery tickets at their stores after a 2007 report from the state ‘s Ombudsman ‘s office about retailer fraud .
The Iowa Lottery has no restrictions for retailers who play, but some stores do have rules .
‘Kum & Go associates may not purchase Lottery or Lotto tickets in a store in which they work, ‘ said Traci Rodemeyer, spokeswoman for the convenience store chain .
Hy-Vee allows employees to buy lottery tickets on bankrupt or off the clock, but they ca n’t sell to themselves or buy from a proportional. Casey ‘s employees may play at their own stores but lone when off duty .
Retailers made up 4.5 percentage of $ 1,000-or-more winners from July 1, 2013, through mid-november, according to Iowa Lottery data .
The Iowa Lottery awarded $ 37.4 million in major jackpots during that time. Retailers claimed six $ 100,000 prizes, six $ 50,000 prizes and nine $ 30,000 prizes .


There ‘s no testify to suggest these Iowa wins are n’t lawful. But examples of fraud from other states keep mounting.

A July 20 fib in The Boston Globe described a lottery victimize in which a person, sometimes a retailer, will redeem a winning ticket for person else who owes back taxes or child support — debts normally deducted from lottery winnings. In this dodge, often called ten-percenting or ticket discount, the redeemer keeps a cut of the winnings .
The Globe highlighted one class that claimed 340 $ 1,000-plus jackpots worth a entire $ 440,000 — a feat that would require spending $ 1 million or more on tickets, according to a statistician .
half of the 20 most frequent New Jersey Lottery winners since 2009 are licensed lottery retailers or family members of storehouse operators, the Asbury Park Press reported Dec. 8. As a group, these 10 people collected 840 prizes totaling closely $ 1.8 million .
The New Jersey Lottery is investigating some of the winners for the hypothesis they are cashing tickets for other people .

Checks and balances

The Iowa Lottery has made changes in recent years to make it tougher for retailers to game the system or cheat customers .
Most of Iowa ‘s 2,400 lottery retail locations now have self-check machines that allow customers to validate their own tickets and terminal screens that face the customer. lottery terminals recognize winning tickets with an audible ‘You ‘re a winner ! ‘ message, followed by ‘Woo hoo ! ‘
The Iowa Lottery encourages winners to sign their tickets immediately. unsigned tickets, if lost or stolen, may be redeemed by person else .
‘Depending on the level of choice, there are other things we check, ‘ explained Steve Bogle, vice president of the united states for security .
The Iowa Lottery compares the signature of the person redeeming the loot to the key signature on the slate, if there is one. If the store that sold the ticket has video surveillance, officials can see whether the person buying the slate is the one redeeming the pry .
The agency started asking winners to disclose whether they own or work for a lottery retailer in 2010. That data has been included in the lottery database since July 1, 2013 .
Bogle assigns an detective to each retailer gain to make surely there is nothing fishy .
For each win over $ 600, lottery officials match the winner ‘s Social Security number with an Iowa Department of Revenue list of people who owe money .
‘If you owe back taxes, child support or fines of any kind, those are withhold, ‘ Bogle said. ‘Sometimes they ( winners ) are n’t identical happy about it. ‘
The Iowa Lottery is n’t a law enforcement agency, so Bogle and his team ca n’t make arrests. But they are aware of at least 109 people charged with lottery-related crimes in Iowa since July 1, 2010. many of those are retail employees accused of stealing tickets from their employer .
The lottery is n’t eager to restrict who can buy lottery tickets. Of $ 314 million in sales in fiscal 2014, about $ 74 million went to department of state coffers. Retailers received $ 20 million in commissions .
The Iowa Lottery awarded $ 187 million in prizes in that time .
Assistant Manager Cord West sells Iowa Lottery tickets at the Wilson Avenue Hy-Vee in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, January 21, 2015. ( Adam Wesley/The Gazette )

A self-service Iowa Lottery ticket scanner is seen at the Wilson Ave Hy-Vee in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, January 21, 2015. ( Adam Wesley/The Gazette )
A Powerball ticket is printed at the Wilson Avenue Hy-Vee in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, January 21, 2015. ( Adam Wesley/The Gazette )
Lottery submission forms are displayed at the Wilson Avenue Hy-Vee in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, January 21, 2015. ( Adam Wesley/The Gazette )

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