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Former Arkansas Lottery official admits stealing tickets

Arkansas LotteryArkansas Lottery: Former Arkansas Lottery official admits stealing tickets
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A former Arkansas Lottery security official pleaded guilty Friday to a long-running scheme in which he's accused of stealing and cashing nearly a half-million dollars' worth of scratch-off tickets.

Lottery Director Bishop Woosley said the theft by Remmele Mazyck, 34, started in 2009 when the lottery launched. It wasn't discovered until October 2012, when a clerk at a Jonesboro retailer raised questions about lottery tickets Mazyck tried to cash that were registered to a store no longer in business.

Mazyck, whose title was deputy security director, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering charges Friday in federal court. He will be sentenced later.

The lottery said Mazyck cashed 22,710 tickets worth about $478,000. Mazyck's lawyer, John Wesley Hall Jr., disputed that amount.

"The total amount of the scheme is $477,893. He reserves the right to litigate whether or not or what the actual loss ... is for the (Arkansas Lottery) Commission," Hall said.

Woosley questioned Mazyck on Oct. 26, and fired him three weeks later.

"His reaction was calm, denial," Woosley said.

Mazyck, who earned $76,500 last year, followed original lottery director Ernie Passailaigue from South Carolina to help launch the lottery. Woosley said he contacted the current South Carolina lottery director, who told him there was no indication that Mazyck was tied to any theft during his tenure.

Officials allege Mazyck used his own security clearance to code tickets from the lottery's warehouse as promotional giveaways. He allegedly scratched the tickets to see if they were winners, cashing those worth less than $500. Prizes of $500 or more have to be cashed at a lottery office, which would have blown the scheme, Woosley said.

"It took a lot of time," Woosley said, noting that weak internal procedures allowed the theft to continue for three years.

The original lottery law banned any employees from playing, but Woosley said the law was changed in 2011 to allow workers to collect prizes of less than $500.

As soon as Mazyck's theft was discovered, the lottery stopped issuing promotional scratch tickets, Woosley said, though other promotions are continuing.

He said the lottery is reviewing its security procedures and added that he was prohibited from publicly discussing the theft because authorities were investigating.

Losses by lottery players are used to fund college scholarships. Woosley said the lottery is insured and the ticket theft won't affect scholarships.

Woosley said he's concerned that lottery players question the integrity of the games but said they have not been compromised.

"This is a simple theft of lottery tickets," he said.

The maximum penalty for wire fraud is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Money laundering carries up to 10 years in prison and also a $250,000 fine.

Hall said Mazyck, who was present at a Friday plea hearing, was released on his own recognizance. Hall said his client has moved back to South Carolina.

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

Thanks to emilyg for the tip.

AP

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26 comments. Last comment 1 year ago by jamella724.
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mypiemaster's avatar - peace
He who dies with the most toys WINS!!!.

United States
Member #141039
April 2, 2013
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Posted: July 13, 2013, 8:36 am - IP Logged

Most lottery states do not allow, their employees, to purchase lottery tickets, just to avoid this type of greedy nonsense. I guess, if you can't buy them, you steal them stupid. With a salary of $76,500 per anum, you have no excuse for stooping this low, STUPID.

    Jon D's avatar - calotterylogo
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    Member #103816
    January 5, 2011
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    Posted: July 13, 2013, 10:09 am - IP Logged

    Another inside job on theft of Scratch tickets, similar to the one a few months ago:

    http://www.lotterypost.com/news/259869

    In both cases, they were lottery employees, with the privilege to change the status of scratch tickets so they could acquire them free of charge. But in this case, he was higher up the food chain, charged with lottery security, so his impact was larger and greater.

    Stupid of them to think it wouldn't eventually catch up to them. And these are just the ones we hear about, the ones that got caught. But what about the ones that got away with it? Or what about an inside job even higher up, at the level of an employee of a distributor/vendor like GTECH or Scientific Games? Those would be even harder to trace.

    Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse! Bang Head

      luckyshoes's avatar - scenery water_mountains.jpg
      Pennsylvania
      United States
      Member #79502
      September 2, 2009
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      Posted: July 13, 2013, 10:20 am - IP Logged

        22k thousand tickets?? I think you may have more than a gambling problem-but then again -its fun to play when the tickets are free=no real losses

      No No


        United States
        Member #116272
        September 7, 2011
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        Posted: July 13, 2013, 10:32 am - IP Logged

          22k thousand tickets?? I think you may have more than a gambling problem-but then again -its fun to play when the tickets are free=no real losses

        No No

        I would hope he took the scannable tickets, NOT the one he had to scratch off.

          stunna6036's avatar - Lottery-033.jpg
          chicago,il
          United States
          Member #141332
          April 11, 2013
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          Posted: July 13, 2013, 11:40 am - IP Logged

          The original lottery law banned any employees from playing, but Woosley said the law was changed in 2011 to allow workers to collect prizes of less than $500.

          So if an employee wins more than 500 I wonder what happens.

            RedStang's avatar - 20140808 010507Custom_zps4cde8ec4.jpg
            Dutchess , NY
            United States
            Member #121966
            January 21, 2012
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            Posted: July 13, 2013, 11:44 am - IP Logged

            Security official busted by a clerk.LOL  That's more embarrassing then the crime itself.

              Avatar
              Keokuk,Iowa
              United States
              Member #116508
              September 12, 2011
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              Posted: July 13, 2013, 12:03 pm - IP Logged

              The original lottery law banned any employees from playing, but Woosley said the law was changed in 2011 to allow workers to collect prizes of less than $500.

              So if an employee wins more than 500 I wonder what happens.

              He gets a family member or a trusted friend to cash it in for him.

                KyMystikal's avatar - Lottery-016.jpg
                Clarksville,Tennessee
                United States
                Member #8658
                November 13, 2004
                1929 Posts
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                Posted: July 13, 2013, 12:58 pm - IP Logged

                The clerk looks like a prime candidate for his old job

                I love doubles and remember, it's just a game!!!!!!

                  ThatScaryChick's avatar - AbnSTiA

                  United States
                  Member #56506
                  November 21, 2007
                  4614 Posts
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                  Posted: July 13, 2013, 2:36 pm - IP Logged

                  Good job on the clerk who raised questions about the lottery tickets that Mazyck was trying to cash in.

                  "No one remembers the person who almost climbed the mountain, only the person who eventually gets to the top."

                    Avatar
                    Bethesda MD
                    United States
                    Member #134917
                    November 10, 2012
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                    Posted: July 13, 2013, 4:14 pm - IP Logged

                    HAPPY SATURDAY  7/13/13

                    THAT NUMBER SHOULD BE GOOD 2 PLAY TODAY...;..)

                    Also, I wouldn't want to work for the Lottery if I couldn't play the "numbers" as everyone else does. At least they should be able to go to another store or faciltiy to play as everyone else does.

                    Finally, It troubles me more, that among alllll the scratchoffs he stole, none of them "paid off"  that bothers me more, because there is something "fishy" about  the fact,  that the store didn't have any payoffs from the scratchoffDisapproveLurkingNaughty.....makes me wonder...whats up with that

                      mypiemaster's avatar - peace
                      He who dies with the most toys WINS!!!.

                      United States
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                      April 2, 2013
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                      Posted: July 13, 2013, 4:38 pm - IP Logged

                        22k thousand tickets?? I think you may have more than a gambling problem-but then again -its fun to play when the tickets are free=no real losses

                      No No

                      $76,500 job + Reputation = Huge losses. Good luck on getting another job in that field.

                        Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
                        Zeta Reticuli Star System
                        United States
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                        January 17, 2006
                        9024 Posts
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                        Posted: July 13, 2013, 6:56 pm - IP Logged

                        From the OP:

                        "It wasn't discovered until October 2012, when a clerk at a Jonesboro retailer raised questions about lottery tickets Mazyck tried to cash that were registered to a store no longer in business."

                        This sounds like something you'd see on World's Dumbest Criminals on TruTv.

                        Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any.

                        Lep

                        There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

                          redhot7's avatar - SetforLifeLogo
                          California
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                          June 17, 2011
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                          Posted: July 13, 2013, 8:33 pm - IP Logged

                          Officials allege Mazyck used his own security clearance to code tickets from the lottery's warehouse as promotional giveaways.

                          How does promotional giveaway work?

                            Jon D's avatar - calotterylogo
                            Los Angeles, California
                            United States
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                            January 5, 2011
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                            Posted: July 13, 2013, 8:51 pm - IP Logged

                            Officials allege Mazyck used his own security clearance to code tickets from the lottery's warehouse as promotional giveaways.

                            How does promotional giveaway work?

                            We've had several Scratchers promotional giveaways here in CA.

                            On a recent one, where they awarded hundreds of packs of 80 $5 Strike it Rich Scratchers, this lady actually nabbed a Top Prize of $250,000 in one of those giveaway packs:

                            http://www.calottery.com/win/winners-stories/valerie-hartzell

                            Coincidence???