A Kamloops store clerk who won the lottery eight times over the past five years was convicted of fraud in 2001.
On May 30, after a scathing report from the B.C. ombudsman on possible retailer fraud, the B.C. Lottery Corp. released the names of 24 retailers known to have won multiple prizes over the past seven years.
Court records obtained by The Vancouver Sun show that one of those retailers — Kulvinder Kaur Bains, 43, an employee at the Halston Market in Kamloops — pleaded guilty in August 2001 to a charge of fraud under $5,000.
The court file states the victim of the fraud was Canadian Tire, but doesn't detail the exact nature of the offence.
Bains — whose husband, Gary Bains, owns the Halston Market — received a suspended sentence along with six months probation and 15 hours of community service.
Reached by phone at her home, Bains denied she had been convicted of fraud.
"I don't have any [convictions]," said Bains, who refused to comment further.
However, on the probation order in the criminal case, Bains's home address is listed as an apartment located right above the Halston Market — where a neighbour says Bains and her husband used to live.
The couple now live in a house a block down the street from the store.
Asked if BCLC was aware of Bains's criminal past, spokeswoman Robin Cook said the corporation's security staff were looking into the matter but would not be able to provide an answer before today at the earliest.
Cook said, however, that the corporation "likely would not have a record of this" — it doesn't conduct criminal record checks on retailers.
Under new rules adopted in December, the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB), which regulates gambling in B.C., will soon begin registering retailers — a process that will include criminal-record checks.
Derek Sturko, head of GPEB, said under the new rules, the branch will require two people at each retail outlet to be registered — usually the owner and the manager.
If either has a record, said Sturko, the outlet could be barred from selling lottery tickets.
"It depends what [the record is] for," he said. "If it was something that could put at risk the integrity of gaming, they would not be able to be involved in gaming."
Regular employees will not be subject to such background checks, said Sturko.
But he said owners and managers will be held accountable for the actions of their staff — meaning they could lose their right to sell lottery tickets if an employee commits fraud.
According to BCLC's records, Bains won the lottery eight separate times for a total of $19,351.
Five of the prizes were for Keno, two were for Extra and one was Super 7.
Most of the prizes were wins of between $1,000 and $3,000 — but in 2006-07, Bains won a $7,500 prize at Keno.
Bains refused to comment on her winning streak when contacted by The Sun.
But in a story in the Kamloops Daily News, published shortly after BCLC released the list of names, Gary Bains said his wife was just lucky.
"If you play, you can win," Gary Bains told the paper. "It wasn't a million dollars. It wasn't the 6/49."
On June 1, The Sun reported that two of the retailers who won multiple prizes — and a third who won a single, $15,000 prize — were in such financial difficulty around the time of their winnings that they declared bankruptcy.
At that time, BCLC said it was not aware of the bankruptcies and its security staff don't investigate the financial history of retailers who claim prizes.
The lottery corporation has said it is not aware of any cases in which a lottery prize was paid out to someone other than the ticket's rightful owner.
However, ombudsman Kim Carter's report, released May 29, found several serious problems with the lottery corporation's security system, including that it did not pay special attention to retailers who won multiple prizes.
"BCLC did not look at these prize payouts any differently, from the perspective of security, than a series of individual wins," she wrote.