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Lottery Cheats Ruin Players' Chances

Indiana LotteryIndiana Lottery: Lottery Cheats Ruin Players' Chances

When it comes to the lottery, there are lots of games, and we all know they're games of chance. When we play, we expect a fair chance.  But that's not always the case.  Eyewitness News learned your odds of winning were hurt at times - sometimes by thieves stealing entire cases of lottery tickets and other times by the very people selling you the tickets.

Drew Lowe was a clerk at a Brownsburg Shell Station until he was caught doing something the lottery calls "fishing" - when an employee literally fishes for winning tickets and leaves the losers for you.

Every lottery ticket has a security code on it needed when a clerk scans it to see if it's a winner.  Some clerks scratch off just that code and plug it into their terminal to figure out if it's a winning ticket.

Lowe admits that's what he was doing - trying to skim winners out of the pile.

"If it said not a winner, it clearly wasn't a winner," he said.  "If it said invalid prize amount it was a winner.  I'd buy the ticket, scratch it off and redeem it there."

Hidden camera have caught store employees playing lottery tickets while working, despite laws against the practice.If the ticket was a loser, he'd put it back in the stack, and since the face of the card wasn't scratched, most times customers never realized.

Lowe was caught, prosecuted and got probation.  He now has a baby on the way and is trying to turn his life around.  But he's far from alone trying to cheat to win.

Hoosier Lottery Security Director Ellen Corcella said she thinks clerks have been getting away with fishing for a long time.  She said she was appalled to see the number of inside jobs when she took over the position this year. 

Corcella just implemented a new security measure that sends her computer alerts on any unusual scanning activity at lottery terminals.  She then sends an investigator to get the surveillance tape from the retailer and find out what happened.

"Here's the clerk at the dispenser and he's taking tickets out and there's no one in the store," she said, referring to surveillance video taken at the Emerson Avenue Shell station.  Lottery computer records show a clerk at the station scanned the same ticket 33 times in just a half hour.

"Quite frankly, how stupid of them, because they're gonna get caught," Corcella said.  "They know there's a 24-hour surveillance camera on them."

When officials reviewed the tape, it was unclear whether the clerk was fishing, but it was clear he played scratch-off tickets all night long during his shift, which is against the law. 

"He was immediately terminated," said Sandra Ray, another clerk at the Emerson station who was the one who spotted a problem.

"He'd pull three of them out, throw those to the side and steal them from the inner row and then put them back when he was done," she said.

In another case, at Liquors Unlimited on east 38th Street, video shows clerk Jackie Adamitis playing tickets. 

"You can see her scratching the ticket right there in plain view," Corcella said.

"I'm accused of stealing 26 tickets," Adamitis told Channel 13.  "There's no way in hell it was 26 tickets.  I didn't steal any of them."

Adamitis is now fired and charged with theft.  She said she doesn't understand why it's illegal for clerks to play tickets in their own store.

But Holt Road Shell station manager Sarah Muncy, who's fired employees for stealing and playing tickets, said it gives clerks an unfair advantage.

"It's possible for an employee to count tickets," she said.  "If somebody comes in and buys 10 tickets and there's not a winner, they know there's going to be a winner on there soon."

In addition to sending out investigators to follow up on any irregular scanning, the lottery is redesigning scratch-off tickets to try to stop clerks from fishing.  In the past, the security code was always in the same spot, making it easy to find and scratch without damaging the rest of the ticket.  Now the lottery plans to float the code in different spots so a clerk can't find it without making it obvious they tampered with the ticket.  Some redesigned tickets are already in stores, but it will take several months to cycle in all of them, so players should look closely when they buy scratch-off tickets.

Lottery officials hope the increased security efforts will have a chilling effect on illegal activity.  It's all part of a security crackdown aimed at improving the odds for paying customers.

"Our playing customer is entitled to a fair game and a game of integrity," Corcella said.

Eyewitness News

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19 comments. Last comment 9 years ago by CASH Only.
Page 1 of 2

United States
Member #3676
February 10, 2004
425 Posts
Offline
Posted: May 23, 2005, 9:34 pm - IP Logged

Yeah the lottery is such a "fair " game to begin with, how dare these crooks make it so unfair!

    Avatar

    United States
    Member #1826
    July 11, 2003
    2645 Posts
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    Posted: May 23, 2005, 10:06 pm - IP Logged

    Yeah, too bad this particular lottery is also run by crooks.

    (insert signature here)

      Tnplayer805's avatar - G 14_v78828750_Small.JPG
      North Dakota
      United States
      Member #13397
      April 5, 2005
      1623 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: May 23, 2005, 10:46 pm - IP Logged

      As for me I would noticed if they have been messed with.  I return the tickets even if a slash mark is in the ticket.  That's just me though.

      How are you going to win if you don't play?

        LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
        Tennessee
        United States
        Member #7853
        October 15, 2004
        11334 Posts
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        Posted: May 24, 2005, 6:39 am - IP Logged



        Yeah, too bad this particular lottery is also run by crooks.



         Future Club .......i agree!!




          United States
          Member #379
          June 5, 2002
          11296 Posts
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          Posted: May 24, 2005, 4:44 pm - IP Logged

          Aren't Hoosier Lottery store employees prohibited from playing where they work?

            DoctorEw220's avatar - alien helmet.jpg
            Yinzer Country, PA
            United States
            Member #4067
            March 18, 2004
            2734 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: May 24, 2005, 5:08 pm - IP Logged

            According to their website, clerks are not allowed to play at their work.

            I've redone my website.  Go to www.dr-ew.com.  I kept a lot of the old stuff, and I've added some new stuff.  Look for more new stuff in the coming weeks.

              Avatar
              New Member
              Tennessee
              United States
              Member #3596
              February 3, 2004
              13 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: May 24, 2005, 11:14 pm - IP Logged

              I'm surprised that there are still scracth-off tickets that DON'T have the floating security code.  I assumed that that was so simple that everyone did it.  Also, there are plenty of non-employees standing around counting tickets, too.  Not an advatange exclusive to workers.

               


                United States
                Member #379
                June 5, 2002
                11296 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: June 4, 2005, 9:36 am - IP Logged

                Counting tickets? I knew casino(e)s have CARD counters.

                  LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
                  Tennessee
                  United States
                  Member #7853
                  October 15, 2004
                  11334 Posts
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                  Posted: July 1, 2005, 5:11 am - IP Logged

                  then again indiana is different altogether,too many scams going on there...


                    United States
                    Member #379
                    June 5, 2002
                    11296 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: July 1, 2005, 3:56 pm - IP Logged

                    I will be driving through IN late this year.

                      Avatar
                      New Member
                      Stanley, Virginia
                      United States
                      Member #14377
                      April 24, 2005
                      25 Posts
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                      Posted: July 4, 2005, 1:53 pm - IP Logged

                      talk about being cheated by store clerks, it happened to me on July 26, 2003 as a clerk was checking my tickets I turned to get a soda from a machine, the terminal made the $winning$ sound and as I approached the clerk and asked him how much it was, he said it was nothing and that he had made a mistake and there was no winner, when I asked to see the ticket, he refused to disclose it and said he was very busy and did not have time to check the ticket again. after a verbal exchange to no avail, I reported the incident to the virginia lottery, they started and investigation and analyzed the terminal, I never got a satisfactory answer as to the validity of the ticket he had scanned. only a reply from the lottery "we will get back to you"  now after seeing these posts of cheating clerks, I am tempted to open the investigation again. I have 2 years to file a police report, and that gives me until July 26, 2005.  what should I do????

                      Olmazey

                        Avatar
                        New Member
                        Stanley, Virginia
                        United States
                        Member #14377
                        April 24, 2005
                        25 Posts
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                        Posted: July 4, 2005, 2:03 pm - IP Logged

                        again on this matter, the ticket was either worth $5000,  $100,000 or $175,000

                         

                         what would you do?  also the clerk left the store 2 weeks later and has not been seen since. he supposedly was going to meet with me and that has never transpired either.

                        Olmazey

                          Maverick's avatar - yinyang
                          USA
                          United States
                          Member #8242
                          October 29, 2004
                          1133 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: July 4, 2005, 9:28 pm - IP Logged

                          Yeah the lottery is such a "fair " game to begin with, how dare these crooks make it so unfair!

                          I Agree!.

                          Honestly I feel the state should have lotteries decrease the odds. I'm sure the people are getting milked!

                            LANTERN's avatar - kilroy 28_173_reasonably_small.jpg
                            Tx
                            United States
                            Member #4570
                            May 4, 2004
                            5180 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: July 4, 2005, 11:04 pm - IP Logged

                            Gambling is a gamble right ?

                            All gambling has bad odds, some worse than others.

                            If the odds are so bad, why would I think that I can win ?

                            Why would I play a game that I know that I have no chance of winning ?

                            Why do people think that they are the ones that will win ?

                            There is no way for everybody to win, so it is ilogical to think that you have to be the one.

                            You will be the one for sure along with most everybody else to lose. At least most of the time or more often than not.

                            Who is a person to blame for not winning, the state lotteries ? Do they force us to gamble ?

                            I have never known them to do that.

                            I know that we all want to win bad, even if we know that we can't, but I would save my money if I know that I can't win. I have to have a good reason to think that I can win other than that I have to be the one (together with millions of others who think the same thing).

                            The odds are always against you, if you want them to tilt a little in your favor you have to do something about it, we are no more special than anybody else, we don't have to be the ones.

                            Maybe we are just addicted to gambling win or lose and that is beyond reason.

                            Good luck to everybody.

                            Orangeman is right when he says that the state lotteries need to get religion.

                            We all need to get religion, if God is with us then we already have all the luck that we need.

                            BibleOnline  ParishesOnline  ChristianRadioOnline   MassOnline   Mass

                            "Ten measures of beauty descended to the world, nine were taken by Jerusalem."