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Florida Lottery terminates contracts of three retailers

Florida LotteryFlorida Lottery: Florida Lottery terminates contracts of three retailers
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Each retailer violated Florida law, banned from ever selling lottery again

Three Pompano Beach, Florida, stores that sold lottery tickets violated state law and won't ever be allowed to sell tickets again, Florida Lottery officials announced Monday.

Officials said in a news release that the three stores, which were raided this month, also broke lottery rules and the terms of their contract.

The news release did not specify which laws were broken or whether any legal action would be taken against the owners. Lottery Assistant Secretary David Bishop said the lottery would not provide any more details.

At least one owner said he's done nothing wrong, has not been contacted by lottery officials and wants to keep selling lottery tickets.

The three stores, each within a short drive of one another in the same hard-edged Pompano Beach neighborhood, were cited last month in a local investigation.

The investigation revealed that some people might be winning the lottery too often, against astronomical odds. Other states found frequent winners to be store clerks stealing winning tickets from customers, ticket "brokers" who cashed in tickets for people seeking to avoid debts and criminals using the lottery to launder money. (See Florida Lottery announces changes in response to reports of repeat winners, Lottery Post, Apr. 3, 2014.)

One of the stores, the Akel Market at 502 N.W. Sixth St., was the top source of winning tickets for the lottery's most prolific winner.

Louis Tillman Johnson, of Pompano Beach, cashed in 252 lottery tickets worth $600 or more between October 2007 and August 2013. He collected more than $719,000 in winnings. Fifty-three of his tickets were sold at Akel Market.

The other stores, the Georgia Market at 1404 N.W. Sixth Ave. and the Kwik Stop Food Store at 617 Hammondville Road, also were big sources of tickets for Johnson, who said he never actually won.

Johnson, 68, said somebody had been cashing in tickets in his name and sticking him with the tax bill. He said on the day of the April 2 raids, he was visited by police and told not to say anything. He said he did not hear from any lottery or law enforcement official on Monday.

The manager of Georgia Market said he has heard nothing official from the lottery, just rumors.

"They're accusing us of cashing in tickets under the table," Faisal Memen, 33, said after the raid.

He and his employees have done nothing wrong, he said Monday.

"What's unfair is unfair," Memen said. "Hopefully, they'll realize it sooner or later and come to their senses."

He has petitioned them to have the machines reinstalled, since business has dropped 15 percent to 20 percent in their absence, he estimated.

Memen manages the store's day-to-day operations, but it's owned by Tariq Bazian, 27. Bazian owns and manages a check-cashing business inside the store.

Bazian said after the April 2 raid that he thinks the lottery suspects stores acted as brokers, collecting winning tickets to help winners avoid taxes. He said his store employees have done nothing wrong.

"It's a big deal for nothing," he said.

Both men said they didn't know Johnson, who lives in the neighborhood and is a regular at Akel Market.

Lottery officials said the decision to permanently revoke the store's ability to sell lottery tickets was based on interviews and records.

"The integrity of the Florida Lottery is essential. The taxpayers of this state demand it, and so do I," Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O'Connell said in a statement. "We expect that each of our retailers abide by the code of integrity outlined in their contract with the lottery. When they don't, our responsibility to our players and this organization is to end our relationship with that retailer."

The lottery said its investigation started in August, but lottery officials did not seize the machines from the stores until after local media published the first story on March 30.

The investigation found that the lottery wasn't following some of the industry's best practices, including asking winners whether they own or work for stores that sell lottery tickets. Six of the 10 most prolific winners were owners or clerks at stores that sold lottery tickets but none worked at the three convenience stores targeted Monday.

Afterward, the lottery announced some changes, which included adopting software to track frequent winners and installing more self-checking machines at its outlets.

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29 comments. Last comment 7 months ago by BuyLow.
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mypiemaster's avatar - lib
He who dies with the most toys WINS!!!.

United States
Member #141039
April 2, 2013
737 Posts
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Posted: April 22, 2014, 8:53 pm - IP Logged

Good job. Start weeding them out, and letting others know that somebody might be watching them.Thumbs Up

I said it before and I will say it again, those 4king dishonest clerks, are gonna end up making everybody else in that line of work look like crap.

Seekand ye shall find -Matt. 7:7 ...Ask and ye shall receive -John 16:24 ...Give and it shall be given unto you -Luke 6:38 ...Be careful what you ask for!!! -Mypiemaster 1:1

Having Money Solves Problems That Not Having Money Creates Yes Nod ****John Carlton****

    Jon D's avatar - calotterylogo
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
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    January 5, 2011
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    Posted: April 22, 2014, 9:32 pm - IP Logged

    The news release did not specify which laws were broken or whether any legal action would be taken against the owners. Lottery Assistant Secretary David Bishop said the lottery would not provide any more details.

    Interesting...no more details?

    Is this being tough on crime, or just the appearance of being tough on crime?

    Blue Thinking

      noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
      Bay Area/ California
      United States
      Member #136482
      December 12, 2012
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      Posted: April 22, 2014, 10:48 pm - IP Logged

      California tells vendor's why they being shut down. They send a shot across the vendor's bow.
      Amongst their violations: lying about the true worth of the ticket- in this case,scratchers.
      Charging a percentage to cash your scratcher tickets for less to avoid child support payments.
      Florida should be up front and spill the beans, after all- its pointless closing the barn door once the animal has taken off.

        rdgrnr's avatar - walt
        Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
        United States
        Member #73904
        April 28, 2009
        14903 Posts
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        Posted: April 22, 2014, 11:31 pm - IP Logged

        Florida should go public with everything they have.

        They look just as shady as the crooks by keeping everything secret.

        Makes it look like they don't want anybody knowing how lax they've been on enforcement for so long.

          savagegoose's avatar - ProfilePho
          adelaide sa
          Australia
          Member #37136
          April 11, 2006
          2830 Posts
          Online
          Posted: April 23, 2014, 3:54 am - IP Logged

          wow its not like florida is a poor state. to run such a shoddy operation,. 

          Louis Tillman Johnson, of Pompano Beach, cashed in 252 lottery tickets worth $600 or more between October 2007 and August 2013. He collected more than $719,000 in winnings. Fifty-three of his tickets were sold at Akel Market.

           

          and

           The investigation found that the lottery wasn't following some of the industry's best practices, including asking winners whether they own or work for stores that sell lottery tickets. Six of the 10 most prolific winners were owners or clerks at stores that sold lottery tickets

           

          both suggest Florida lotto are just really slack at due dilligence but are  geting on the case now, and that theyre really worried by missing taxes payments of debt

           

           

          <div_prefs id="div_prefs">

          2014 winnings S= spent W= won

          JAN S 119/ W71 ; FEB S90 /W 13 ; MAR S93/ W75 ; APR S146/ W50 ; MAY S94/ W32 : JUN S98 /W 13 JUL S110 /W21 ; AUG S185 / W56 ; SEP S 140/W 13 ; OCT S 130 / W 66 ; NOV S104 / W47

          S $1313W $461Tot -$851

           

           

            Avatar
            boston,ma
            United States
            Member #150109
            December 15, 2013
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            Posted: April 23, 2014, 9:38 am - IP Logged

            Florida should go public with everything they have.

            They look just as shady as the crooks by keeping everything secret.

            Makes it look like they don't want anybody knowing how lax they've been on enforcement for so long.

            I agree. It looks very bad for them to come out and say, "we caught these guys breaking the law but we won't tell you what law." It definately looks like they have something to hide and just causes more distrust.

              RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
              mid-Ohio
              United States
              Member #9
              March 24, 2001
              18101 Posts
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              Posted: April 23, 2014, 11:42 am - IP Logged

              Florida should go public with everything they have.

              They look just as shady as the crooks by keeping everything secret.

              Makes it look like they don't want anybody knowing how lax they've been on enforcement for so long.

              Most states know crooks are cashing lottery tickets to laundry drug money or help some players avoid taxes and child support but unless they can save more money than it cost to correct the problem it doesn't make economic sense to do anything about it.

              * you don't need more tickets, just the right ticket * 
              * your best chance at winning a lottery jackpot is to buy a ticket * 
              "I will magically reveal the winning numbers after the drawing"
              Evil Looking       

                Cieli Diverde's avatar - prod 387_11684.gif
                Credere et nulli
                Alpha Centuri
                United States
                Member #149147
                November 21, 2013
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                Posted: April 23, 2014, 3:12 pm - IP Logged

                NO news here.. This goes on all over the Country... Sleep

                  Avatar
                  Kentucky
                  United States
                  Member #32652
                  February 14, 2006
                  5651 Posts
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                  Posted: April 23, 2014, 3:26 pm - IP Logged

                  The news release did not specify which laws were broken or whether any legal action would be taken against the owners. Lottery Assistant Secretary David Bishop said the lottery would not provide any more details.

                  Interesting...no more details?

                  Is this being tough on crime, or just the appearance of being tough on crime?

                  Blue Thinking

                  "The integrity of the Florida Lottery is essential. The taxpayers of this state demand it, and so do I," Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O'Connell said in a statement. "We expect that each of our retailers abide by the code of integrity outlined in their contract with the lottery. When they don't, our responsibility to our players and this organization is to end our relationship with that retailer."

                  Apparently the State of Florida didn't charge any of these retailers with a crime, but the Lottery Secretary found them guilty of breaking her code of integrity and probably a result of the "repeat winners investigation". 

                  "Louis Tillman Johnson, of Pompano Beach, cashed in 252 lottery tickets worth $600 or more between October 2007 and August 2013.

                  And it looks like he or another repeat winner cashed some more tickets after the lottery was investigated because of the repeat winners.

                  "Johnson, 68, said somebody had been cashing in tickets in his name and sticking him with the tax bill."

                  That is interesting because it began six years ago.

                    Nikkicute's avatar - nnjx1k
                    RIGHT HERE!!
                    United States
                    Member #123295
                    February 17, 2012
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                    Posted: April 23, 2014, 3:35 pm - IP Logged

                    The investigation found that the lottery wasn't following some of the industry's best practices, including asking winners whether they own or work for stores that sell lottery tickets.

                    If they release the full report, everyone will see The Lottery was at fault as well.

                      Jon D's avatar - calotterylogo
                      Los Angeles, California
                      United States
                      Member #103816
                      January 5, 2011
                      1530 Posts
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                      Posted: April 23, 2014, 4:00 pm - IP Logged

                      Most states know crooks are cashing lottery tickets to laundry drug money or help some players avoid taxes and child support but unless they can save more money than it cost to correct the problem it doesn't make economic sense to do anything about it.

                      Yep, they don't want to lose that extra revenue from clerks and owners playing.

                      Just like a business with unsafe operations, if the fine is small, they will continue to operate unsafe conditions and just pay the fine as a cost of doing business.

                      DRAMATIZATION: (fictional, for entertainment only)
                      Lottery Asst- "Chief, this clerk scandal is growing and doesn't seem to be going away."
                      Lottery Chief- "Yeah, the dang media and nosey newspapers got everyone all worked up."
                      Lottery Asst- "What do we do?"
                      Lottery Chief- "Let's throw 'em a bone. Take the top 3 stores and kill their contracts."
                      Lottery Asst- "What do we say when people ask why they were shut down?"
                      Lottery Chief- "They don't need to know. It's our rules and we can just say they violated them."
                      Lottery Asst- "But the media will ask for more details."
                      Lottery Chief- "Tell them we won't provide any more details. In a few weeks they'll be on to the next story."
                      Lottery Asst- "Got it Chief, consider it done."

                        Avatar
                        Kentucky
                        United States
                        Member #32652
                        February 14, 2006
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                        Posted: April 23, 2014, 4:36 pm - IP Logged

                        Most states know crooks are cashing lottery tickets to laundry drug money or help some players avoid taxes and child support but unless they can save more money than it cost to correct the problem it doesn't make economic sense to do anything about it.

                        Bet they didn't ask if you bought the ticket when you cashed your $1500 OCL winner because I was never asked in Ohio or in another state. And based on the lottery ads to buy tickets as "stocking stuffers" at Christmas, it has to be legal to cash a ticket we didn't buy. The reason a player would sell a lottery ticket at less than face value might make them a crook, but if buying and/or selling anything at more or less than face value is illegal, we're all guilty.

                        We might be very skeptical if a stranger offered us half the value of a $5000 pick-4 winning ticket just for cashing it, but are we breaking any laws by cashing it?

                          Avatar
                          Kentucky
                          United States
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                          February 14, 2006
                          5651 Posts
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                          Posted: April 23, 2014, 5:29 pm - IP Logged

                          The investigation found that the lottery wasn't following some of the industry's best practices, including asking winners whether they own or work for stores that sell lottery tickets.

                          If they release the full report, everyone will see The Lottery was at fault as well.

                          "Louis Tillman Johnson, of Pompano Beach, cashed in 252 lottery tickets worth $600 or more between October 2007 and August 2013. He collected more than $719,000 in winnings. Fifty-three of his tickets were sold at Akel Market."

                          That's an average of 42 tickets a year and The Florida Lottery should have investigated after one person cashed 42 tickets in 2007.

                          "If they release the full report, everyone will see The Lottery was at fault as well."

                          If one person cashing multiple tickets is against the lottery rules or a state law, the lottery is at fault, but the story doesn't say if any laws or rules were broken. I believe Jon D has it correct when he suggested the lottery suspended the top three retailers because of the media heat. Any state lottery can create rules preventing store owners and employees from buying lottery tickets, but they better tell the players "all lottery sales are final" because it would be illegal for the store to buy mistakes.

                            RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
                            mid-Ohio
                            United States
                            Member #9
                            March 24, 2001
                            18101 Posts
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                            Posted: April 23, 2014, 8:06 pm - IP Logged

                            Bet they didn't ask if you bought the ticket when you cashed your $1500 OCL winner because I was never asked in Ohio or in another state. And based on the lottery ads to buy tickets as "stocking stuffers" at Christmas, it has to be legal to cash a ticket we didn't buy. The reason a player would sell a lottery ticket at less than face value might make them a crook, but if buying and/or selling anything at more or less than face value is illegal, we're all guilty.

                            We might be very skeptical if a stranger offered us half the value of a $5000 pick-4 winning ticket just for cashing it, but are we breaking any laws by cashing it?

                            "Bet they didn't ask if you bought the ticket when you cashed your $1500 OCL winner because I was never asked in Ohio or in another state."

                            They didn't have to ask because a local retailer(where I brought it) had to verify my winning ticket and help me fill out paper work which included that information along the information necessary to receive a W-2G at the end of the year before I could collect my winnings from a local authorized bank.

                            My $1500 ticket was worth about $1200 after I payed the Federal, State and City taxes, it might had been worth less to someone not retired who had a larger income.  I'm guessing I would have been lucky to get $1000 for it if I had wanted to hide the fact that I won it.

                            * you don't need more tickets, just the right ticket * 
                            * your best chance at winning a lottery jackpot is to buy a ticket * 
                            "I will magically reveal the winning numbers after the drawing"
                            Evil Looking