Massachusetts store worker tries to hijack winning scratch ticket from lottery customer

Stolen winnings, illegal sales, and illegal gambling are all at the center of the state’s lottery commission investigations, as it oversees thousands of licensed lottery sales agents across the state. A Boston woman recently turned to 5 Investigates for help after she said she was cheated on. of some of his winnings by a lottery sales agent. Amelia Smith said she walked into the Roslindale Food Mart and bought a bunch of scratch tickets, then sat in her car and scratched them. One of them, a $ 5 ticket to the Gem mine, seemed like a definite winner. “I had three lemons, three horseshoes… three wrenches in one,” Smith said. “I had three, three, three, you know, three symbols indicating that I won. My ticket made me horny, like woo, woo, woo!” She knew she had found gold. But his excitement turned to disgust when Smith returned to the Roslindale Food Mart to collect his winnings. She thought she had won at least $ 500 and this seemed to be confirmed when the clerk scanned her ticket and the machine sang a winning tune. “He said a beep, the machine sounded, then a pink slip came out and he just grabbed it,” Smith said, adding that the clerk would not give him the winning validation coupon or return his ticket. to scratch. After a few trips back and forth, he handed her $ 500 in cash from the register. But even with the money in hand, she had a hunch that something was wrong. “I called the lottery people and the police,” she said. Boston Police typed a police report but took no action. 5 Investigators spoke to Michael Sweeney, executive director of the Massachusetts Lottery. “It looks like what (the clerk) did was take the validation slip, sort of crumpled it up quickly, threw it away, or got rid of it.” other way, kept him away from the client and attempted to pay her about $ 500 in cash, ”Sweeney said. The problem, he said, was that the ticket was worth double that amount, or $ 1,000. Lottery investigators determined that the clerk was trying to pocket the winnings and cash Smith’s ticket for himself. After making several trips to the store, the clerk gave her the rest of her money, but since she still didn’t have her ticket, she had no idea how much money she had actually made. there appears to have been some level of malicious intent, even outright criminality, potentially involved by someone in the store, ”Sweeney said. Records obtained by 5 Investigates showed that in a similar case to Melrose in 2014, deli owner Chang Cho disabled a woman from her earnings from a scratch ticket by giving her less than $ 1,000 while she had actually won $ 10,000. Cho pleaded guilty, was sentenced to three years’ probation, and closed his shop. Last year more lucrative lottery sales licenses were at stake. Plaza Liquors’ license in Southbridge was revoked due to an ongoing criminal charge related to the business and the store was sold. The Lottery suspended Broadway Mini Mart’s license from Lawrence after police busted the store for allegedly selling synthetic marijuana and operating an illegal gambling machine. “Most of them are very hardworking individual owners… and they do an almost impeccable job every day,” said Sweeney. “But it does happen and when it does, we take it seriously because product integrity and customer satisfaction are our highest concern.” The state lottery is a big business, generating around $ 1 billion in revenue for local towns and villages. every year. A recent state audit found that the lottery failed to timely check the criminal backgrounds of more than 3,100, or 32%, of its sales agents. Background checks are required every four years, but some had not been checked for decades. The lottery said it had worked vigorously to resolve the issue. Back in Roslindale, the Food Mart owner made no comment on the Smith case, but 5 Investigates learned that the clerk who tried to steal his earnings had lost his job. Smith said in a game where you rely on a lot of luck to turn $ 5 into $ 1 million, trusting a lottery employee shouldn’t be a gamble. “Theft is bad,” she said. “I really feel like, oh my God, this is so bad. You know, who can you trust? The lottery has paid off its winnings and the store license investigation is ongoing. There are two things you can do to avoid such a situation: take a photo of the front and back of your ticket and download the Massachusetts Lottery app, which allows you to check your winnings on your phone.

Stolen winnings, illegal sales, and illegal gambling are all at the center of investigations by the state Lottery Commission, which oversees thousands of licensed lottery sales agents across the state.

A Boston woman recently turned to 5 Investigates for help after she said she was cheated of some of her winnings by a lottery sales agent.

Amelia Smith said she walked into the Roslindale Food Mart and bought a bunch of scratch tickets, then sat in her car and scratched them. One of them, a $ 5 Gem Mine ticket, seemed like a definite winner.

“I had three lemons, three horseshoes… three wrenches in one,” Smith said. “I had three, three, three, you know, three symbols indicating that I had won. My ticket got me excited, like woo, woo, woo!”

She knew she had found gold.

But his excitement turned to disgust when Smith returned to the Roslindale Food Mart to collect his winnings. She thought she had won at least $ 500 and this seemed to be confirmed when the clerk scanned her ticket and the machine sang a winning tune.

Lottery supervision of thousands of agent license sales a challenge

“It said a beep, the sound of the machine, then a pink slip came out and he just grabbed it,” Smith said, adding that the clerk would not give him the winning validation voucher nor return his. scratch ticket.

After a few trips back and forth, he gave her $ 500 in cash from the registry. But even with the money in hand, she had a hunch that something was wrong.

“I called the lottery people and the police,” she said.

Boston Police typed a police report but took no action. 5 Investigates spoke to Michael Sweeney, the executive director of the Massachusetts Lottery.

“It looks like what (the clerk) did was take the validation slip, sort of crumpled it up quickly, threw it away, or got rid of it some other way.” , kept him away from the client and attempted to pay her about $ 500 in cash, “Sweeney said.

Lottery supervision of thousands of agent license sales a challenge

The problem, he said, was that the ticket was worth double that amount, or $ 1,000.

Lottery investigators determined that the clerk was trying to pocket the winnings and cash Smith’s ticket for himself. After making several trips to the store, the clerk gave her the rest of her money, but since she still didn’t have her ticket, she had no idea how much money she had actually made.

“We sometimes come across a situation where there appears to have been some level of malicious intent, even outright criminality, potentially involved by someone in the store,” Sweeney said.

Records obtained by 5 Investigates showed that in a similar case in Melrose in 2014, deli owner Chang Cho stole a disabled woman’s winnings on a scratch ticket by giving her less than $ 1,000 when she had actually won $ 10,000. Cho pleaded guilty, was sentenced to three years’ probation, and closed his shop.

Last year more lucrative lottery sales licenses were on the line. Plaza Liquors in Southbridge had its license revoked due to a pending criminal charge related to the business and the store was sold.

The Lottery suspended Broadway Mini Mart’s license from Lawrence after police blew up the store for allegedly selling synthetic marijuana and using an illegal gaming machine.

“Most of them are very hardworking individual owners… and they do an almost impeccable job every day,” said Sweeney. “But it does happen and when it does, we take it seriously, because product integrity and customer satisfaction are our primary concern. “

Lottery supervision of thousands of agent license sales a challenge

The State Lottery is a big business, generating around $ 1 billion in revenue for local towns and villages each year. A recent state audit found that the lottery failed to timely check the criminal backgrounds of more than 3,100, or 32%, of its sales agents. Background checks are required every four years, but some had not been checked for decades. The lottery said it has worked vigorously to resolve the issue.

Back in Roslindale, the Food Mart owner made no comment on the Smith case, but 5 Investigates learned that the clerk who tried to steal his earnings had lost his job.

Lottery supervision of thousands of agent license sales a challenge

Smith said in a game where you rely on a lot of luck to turn $ 5 into $ 1 million, trusting a lottery clerk shouldn’t be a gamble.

“Theft is bad,” she said. “I really feel like, oh my God, this is so bad. You know, who can you trust? “

The lottery has paid off its winnings and the store license investigation is ongoing. There are two things you can do to avoid such a situation: take a photo of the front and back of your ticket and download the Massachusetts Lottery app, which allows you to check your winnings on your phone.