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11 more retailers suspended by Florida Lottery

Florida LotteryFlorida Lottery: 11 more retailers suspended by Florida Lottery
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Includes video report

The Florida Lottery, suspecting fraud, has suspended sales at 11 more stores, bringing the total to 14 since a Palm Beach Post investigation revealed startling patterns of winners.

Two of the stores were owned by winners profiled in The Post's investigation.

Amit and Nita Thakker have owned or operated various stores in and around Gainesville for years. Since 2005, they've cashed in 226 big lottery prizes worth more than $560,000.

Lottery officials seized equipment and turned off the terminals at their current store, the Williston Corner Market, about 30 minutes southwest of Gainesville.

"The Florida Lottery will not tolerate fraudulent activity by our players or retailers," a lottery news release stated.

If the lottery's investigation confirms that store owners or clerks fraudulently sold or redeemed tickets, the lottery will terminate their contract. They could face criminal charges as well, according to the news release.

The Post's investigation found lottery winners who were cashing in tickets against incredible odds. The most prolific winner, for example, was cashing in a ticket worth $600 or more every 11 days, on average, for years.

The winning patterns were red flags that led other lotteries to uncover ticket theft by store employees, ticket cashers who helped people avoid paying taxes or child support and even criminals using the lottery to launder money.

One of the prolific winners told The Post that he'd been cashing in tickets for other people, a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.

Fort Pierce gas station owner Vipul Shukla has cashed in tickets 149 times, collecting $323,000, since 2006.

He previously told The Post that he'd been cashing in tickets for others, but he had stopped.

The lottery said Thursday it had suspended his store, the Midway Food Mart, 1200 W. Midway Road.

Seven of the suspended stores are in the St. Petersburg area. A Monday report by a Tampa-area TV station found that the owner of all seven stores had an unusually high number of wins.

Two other stores also had disproportionate wins by their owners.

The name of the man listed as the owner of La Rampa Supermarket, 2925 NW 27th Ave., in Miami, matches the name of the store's top winner in lottery records. He has won 11 times at his own store since 2008, collecting nearly $36,000.

The man listed as the owner of the A&L Discount Beverage in Ocala has won at his store 17 times for $21,500 since 2006, lottery records show.

Both men had even more winning tickets from other stores.

The Post's investigation, published March 30, found that six of the 10 most prolific winners in Florida since 2003 were store clerks or owners.

The chances of winning any lottery prize worth $600 or more are remote. Only one in every 8,700 scratch-off tickets sold is worth that much, and the rate is far worse for online games such as Play 4.

Mathematicians calculated that many of the top winners would have to spend millions to have a low chance of winning hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Thakkers had said they had discovered a loophole in the lottery that allowed them to turn a profit every year playing the game. Experts and lottery officials discredited their explanation.

After suspending three Pompano Beach stores identified in The Post stories on April 2, the lottery three weeks later permanently revoked their licenses. The lottery said someone at the stores broke the law and won't ever be allowed to sell tickets again.

The Post found that the lottery wasn't following some industry best practices, including asking winners whether they work at stores that sell lottery tickets.

While the lottery has not adopted that rule, officials said they would adopt software to track frequent winners and install more self-checking machines at its outlets so that players don't have to rely on store clerks to tell them if they have winning tickets.

VIDEO: Watch the press report

bDmY3lNdMPw11 more retailers suspended by Florida LotteryThe Florida Lottery, suspecting fraud, has suspended sales at 11 more stores, bringing the total to 14 since a Palm Beach Post investigation revealed startling patterns of winners.T02M02Shttp://img.youtube.com/vi/bDmY3lNdMPw/2.jpghttp://youtu.be/bDmY3lNdMPw2014-05-17T14:11:00-05:00

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35 comments. Last comment 3 months ago by One-Day.
Page 1 of 3
Drenick1's avatar - villiarna
USA
United States
Member #152806
February 25, 2014
447 Posts
Offline
Posted: May 17, 2014, 3:04 pm - IP Logged

Just another reason why I don't play scratch off tickets.

Never take advice from someone unless you are willing to live their lifestyle. 

    dr65's avatar - black panther.jpg
    Pennsylvania
    United States
    Member #74096
    May 2, 2009
    16224 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: May 17, 2014, 3:05 pm - IP Logged

    If you don't scan your ticket yourself and are handing it over for the clerk to do it AND believe them

    when they say:

    SORRY NOT A WINNER...

    chances are, some of those SORRY NOT A WINNER replies should have been:

    CONGRATULATIONS!! Here's your claim form.

    Why stay in your own country and suffer when you can come here and prosper?

    369 209

    1741

      hearsetrax's avatar - 78638c467ef281febf24383e126f74b6

      United States
      Member #52345
      May 21, 2007
      1837 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: May 17, 2014, 3:10 pm - IP Logged

      Crazy time to set the entire state adrift into the Atlantic

        Goteki54's avatar - Lottery-007.jpg
        Baltimore, MD
        United States
        Member #143337
        May 30, 2013
        256 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: May 17, 2014, 3:52 pm - IP Logged

        If people just sign their tickets, they can't be scammed by the clerks right?

        Goteki, have a Snickers. Why? Because you always get angry when you have a case of the one offs on your lottery tickets. Better? No, I'm still ticked off!Hit With Stick

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

          United States
          Member #141039
          April 2, 2013
          722 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: May 17, 2014, 4:09 pm - IP Logged

          Here we go again, with the misadventures of dishonest store clerks and owners. That loophole he found, must be his gaping A-hole, that he just pulled his head out of. Jail time is in order.

          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****

            mrcraft's avatar - images3lp4 zps7dbb4a10.jpg
            Los Angeles, California
            United States
            Member #149499
            December 2, 2013
            766 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: May 17, 2014, 4:18 pm - IP Logged

            What I don't like about this story is how the FL Lottery and their auditors likely turned a blind eye to this entire situation for years.  The data is right there, staring them in the face.  It was only after the Post's article was published that their legislature demanded an investigation, and now suspensions and terminations are moving at a fast pace.

              LottoMetro's avatar - Lottery-024.jpg
              Happyland
              United States
              Member #146350
              September 1, 2013
              559 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: May 17, 2014, 4:19 pm - IP Logged

              Just another reason why I don't play scratch off tickets.

              Pick 4 constituted a substantial portion of the "fraudulent" winners.

              If the chances of winning the jackpot are so slim, why play when the jackpot is so small? Your chances never change, but the payoff does.

              If a crystal ball showed you the future of the rest of your life, and in that future you will never win a jackpot, would you still play?

              2013: -35.14% (158 tickets) || 2014: +20.00% (13 tickets)

                dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
                Oklahoma
                United States
                Member #82391
                November 12, 2009
                5273 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: May 17, 2014, 5:00 pm - IP Logged

                People always trying to cheat the system i.e. deadbeat parents instead of paying for their kids Mad

                I Love Pink & Green 1908

                  Drenick1's avatar - villiarna
                  USA
                  United States
                  Member #152806
                  February 25, 2014
                  447 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: May 17, 2014, 5:07 pm - IP Logged

                  Pick 4 constituted a substantial portion of the "fraudulent" winners.

                  So the "fraud" is not the winning ticket itself but the act of cashing it in for the true winner? I thought that perhaps these retailers were doing something with the bar codes on scratch offs to pre-determine which were winners.

                  Never take advice from someone unless you are willing to live their lifestyle. 

                    HEHATEME's avatar - animated sphere.gif
                    LANGUAGE OF NUMBERS
                    United States
                    Member #100493
                    November 12, 2010
                    1289 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: May 17, 2014, 5:15 pm - IP Logged

                    I DO BELIEVE SOME STORE CLERKS HAVE A MEETING

                    OF THE MINDS AS SCRATCH OFFS ARE SOLD AND

                    OWNERS FROM STORE TO STORE,ABOUT HOW THE

                    CORNER NUMBERS DISTRIBUTION AND STUDY IT

                    JUST LIKE ANY OTHER GAME. THEY ALSO OFFER TO CASH

                    THEM IN FOR BUT FRAUD AND JAIL TIME AND CAMERAS

                    TELLS THE ENTIRE STORY.WHEN COMES RIPPING THE

                    COSTUMERS THAT'S STILL GOING BECAUSE MAY COSTUMERS

                    DON'T UNDERSTAND THE TICKETS.OKAY SELF SCAN

                    YOUR TICKETS.Lurking

                    High frequency* 06-24-08-26-28-46-15-35-37-19-39-57-17*

                    low frequency *20-04-68-13-59-79

                    Compliments of daily king* 99% of the time(0-1-5-8-9**00*11*55*88*99 (99% THEY WILL SHOW)59*58*51*89*19*90*80*10*50*81*PAIR WITH*2*3*4*6*7**22*33*44*66*77**23*24*26*27* CONSECUTIVES*01*12*23*34*45*56*67*78*89*

                    ODDS 13*15*17*19*35*37*39*11*33*55*77*99* 

                     EVENS* 02*04*06*08*24*26*28*46*48*68*00*22*44*66*88*

                    MIRRORS* 05*16*27*38*49* 

                      rdgrnr's avatar - walt
                      -Ridge Runner- Oracle of the Appalachians
                      Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
                      United States
                      Member #73904
                      April 28, 2009
                      14903 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: May 17, 2014, 5:53 pm - IP Logged

                      What I don't like about this story is how the FL Lottery and their auditors likely turned a blind eye to this entire situation for years.  The data is right there, staring them in the face.  It was only after the Post's article was published that their legislature demanded an investigation, and now suspensions and terminations are moving at a fast pace.

                      Exactly.

                      The states know this is going on but if they do anything about it the corruption is exposed and they look bad. They'd rather let it continue than make themselves look bad. Thank God a newspaper is willing to do their job for them every once in a while or nothing would ever be done.

                      I would bet that this is epidemic throughout all the states and they all know it.

                      Buncha useless, incompetent, corrupt bureaucrats.

                        ONEDAY's avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
                        OHIO
                        United States
                        Member #5328
                        June 30, 2004
                        1284 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: May 17, 2014, 6:02 pm - IP Logged

                        The chances of winning any lottery prize worth $600 or more are remote. Only one in every 8,700 scratch-off tickets sold is worth that much, and the rate is far worse for online games such as Play 4.

                        that above statement from the lottery scares me a little..

                        I don't know about scratch offs..but pick 3 and pick 4 players can win more then $600 more often then they think..they also mention in the article it be hard to make a profit..BS..I did even play much last year and made a profit, they are some serious lottery players who do well with the daily games..but the best thing is to win less then $599..

                        have a great winning day!

                          LottoMetro's avatar - Lottery-024.jpg
                          Happyland
                          United States
                          Member #146350
                          September 1, 2013
                          559 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: May 17, 2014, 6:21 pm - IP Logged

                          The chances of winning any lottery prize worth $600 or more are remote. Only one in every 8,700 scratch-off tickets sold is worth that much, and the rate is far worse for online games such as Play 4.

                          that above statement from the lottery scares me a little..

                          I don't know about scratch offs..but pick 3 and pick 4 players can win more then $600 more often then they think..they also mention in the article it be hard to make a profit..BS..I did even play much last year and made a profit, they are some serious lottery players who do well with the daily games..but the best thing is to win less then $599..

                          But can you make a "profit" for 7 years running, like some of these winners? I think that's what raised alarm here. Yeah, people get lucky every now and then, but not that lucky. If it were possible for lottery players to profit over the long-term then the lottery would go broke.

                          It's obvious these clerks were either swindling winners out of their tickets or cashing them in for them to avoid taxes, child support, etcetera.

                          If the chances of winning the jackpot are so slim, why play when the jackpot is so small? Your chances never change, but the payoff does.

                          If a crystal ball showed you the future of the rest of your life, and in that future you will never win a jackpot, would you still play?

                          2013: -35.14% (158 tickets) || 2014: +20.00% (13 tickets)

                            RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
                            mid-Ohio
                            United States
                            Member #9
                            March 24, 2001
                            17833 Posts
                            Online
                            Posted: May 17, 2014, 6:32 pm - IP Logged

                            If you don't scan your ticket yourself and are handing it over for the clerk to do it AND believe them

                            when they say:

                            SORRY NOT A WINNER...

                            chances are, some of those SORRY NOT A WINNER replies should have been:

                            CONGRATULATIONS!! Here's your claim form.

                            Why stay in your own country and suffer when you can come here and prosper?

                            If clerks gave customers back their losing tickets then they wouldn't have any reasons to lie.  I don't buy ticket at place where clerks keep your losing tickets.

                            * you don't need more tickets, just the right ticket * 
                            * your best chance to win a lottery jackpot is to buy a ticket * 
                                Wink