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Recent checks of Iowa Lottery retailers find no fraud

Iowa LotteryIowa Lottery: Recent checks of Iowa Lottery retailers find no fraud

Security checks at lottery ticket sale locations at about 200 locations statewide in recent months have revealed no improper payments of prizes to or by store personnel, Iowa's lottery chief told a panel of state legislators last week.

Terry Rich, chief executive officer of the Iowa Lottery, played up the safety and profitability of the lottery before members of the Legislature's Oversight Committee in the wake of an expansive report by Iowa's Ombudsman of State. The April report found the lottery failed for years to aggressively prevent fraud and theft, which has been problematic in other states and in Canada.

Calling more than 99.9 percent of the lottery's transactions problem-free, Rich tried to reassure the watchdog panel that there is no need for new laws and administrative rules to protect customers.

But ombudsman's investigators who listened to Rich's comments walked away unsatisfied with his remarks. After the meeting, they said they would like to see Rich and legislators explore more of the 60 changes they recommended.

Deputy ombudsman Ruth Cooperrider said several of the proposed changes — such as disqualifying convicted thieves from being able to obtain lottery licenses — cost little or nothing but make good fiscal sense.

The lottery also has failed to say exactly what recommendations it intends to pursue. Some — such as actively trying to recoup money stolen by retail workers — seemed a fiduciary responsibility to investigators.

"Somebody should go after the prize money being obtained from stolen tickets," said Jeff Burnham, one of two investigators who looked into three years' worth of complaints by lottery customers.

The ombudsman's 2½-year investigation found at least three retailers collected lottery winnings after improperly withholding the full amount from customers who produced winning tickets. Nine more won major prizes, beating long odds to do so.

The review also found that numerous customer complaints went unexplored and that at least 15 were not forwarded to security officials — including some that could have revealed criminal wrongdoing.

Rich said Thursday that the lottery has made some changes and is exploring new technology — including installing self-checking machines at retail locations — that promises to enhance the integrity of the games going forward.

The lottery has complied with some of the ombudsman's recommendations. But Rich and others within the state-run operation have resisted making others, saying they are either too costly, pose a safety risk or are otherwise impractical.

"If we had to make sure every store clerk never ripped off a customer, it would cost too much," Rich told lawmakers.

In Minnesota, at least eight people who worked at retail locations were charged with felony fraud after compliance checks in December and January.

The Iowa Lottery conducted most of its checks in February, April and May. Some store clerks failed to require signatures of winning ticket holders as required, but all tickets were properly paid out by workers in the stores, gas stations, taverns and fraternal organizations visited.

Rich said his job is to maximize revenues while making sure the lottery operates with integrity and dignity. He noted that the ombudsman found no widespread fraud. In addition, a state auditor's report in February showed no "material" weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting and no instances of noncompliance.

The Iowa Lottery offers several games that generate big revenue for the state: Instant-scratch tabs brought in $114 million last year; Powerball, $47.4 million; Pick 3, $5.4 million; Hot Lotto, $11.8 million; Pick 4, $2.1 million; $100,000 Cash Game, $3.4 million; pulltabs, $17.8 million.

Thanks to MaddMike51 for the tip.

Des Moines Register

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6 comments. Last comment 7 years ago by gocart1.
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maringoman's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcTbRxpKQmOfcCoUqF2FyqIOAwDo7rg9G-lfJLAALPGWJWwiz19eRw
Massachusetts
United States
Member #37433
April 14, 2006
2747 Posts
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Posted: June 15, 2009, 5:16 pm - IP Logged

The State that vindicated Obama when everybody else was sceptical also happens to be very honest state, nice!

    konane's avatar - wallace
    Atlanta, GA
    United States
    Member #1265
    March 13, 2003
    3333 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: June 15, 2009, 11:02 pm - IP Logged

    "The review also found that numerous customer complaints wentunexplored and that at least 15 were not forwarded to securityofficials — including some that could have revealed criminal wrongdoing.

    Rich said Thursday that the lottery has made some changes and isexploring new technology — including installing self-checking machinesat retail locations — that promises to enhance the integrity of thegames going forward."

    We'll all get a better night's sleep with those assurances. 

    Good luck to everyone!

      Avatar
      New Member
      Vancouver
      Canada
      Member #76014
      June 16, 2009
      2 Posts
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      Posted: June 16, 2009, 11:12 pm - IP Logged

      Was this a PLC company - There is a video on YOutube of the Lottery Conspiracy with PLC.  Guards switch balls before the draw.

        Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
        Chief Bottle Washer
        New Jersey
        United States
        Member #1
        May 31, 2000
        23260 Posts
        Online
        Posted: June 17, 2009, 10:54 am - IP Logged

        Was this a PLC company - There is a video on YOutube of the Lottery Conspiracy with PLC.  Guards switch balls before the draw.

        There is no such thing as "PLC".

        As I mentioned in your other thread, the video you saw was clearly a joke and I don't think you took the time to watch it all the way to the end.

        Every state conducts their own drawings within their state.  There is no tower office building in which one company performs all the drawings.    That should have been your first clue to seeing the video as a satire.

        If you really want to explore the possibility of fraudulent drawings -- at least the possibility of them -- then you should look into computerized drawings.  The ball drawings are the one type that can give you comfort -- not something to look at with suspicion.

         

        Check the State Lottery Report Card
        What grade did your lottery earn?

         

        Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
        Help eliminate computerized drawings!


          United States
          Member #58528
          February 18, 2008
          710 Posts
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          Posted: June 17, 2009, 4:22 pm - IP Logged

          Was this a PLC company - There is a video on YOutube of the Lottery Conspiracy with PLC.  Guards switch balls before the draw.

          It always amazes me how many people think that lotteries are out to cheat their customers.For a lottery to knowingly cheat its customers would be financial suicide.

            gocart1's avatar - lighthouse
            ONEONTA,NEW YORK
            United States
            Member #30516
            January 17, 2006
            419 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: June 19, 2009, 9:22 am - IP Logged

            It always amazes me how many people think that lotteries are out to cheat their customers.For a lottery to knowingly cheat its customers would be financial suicide.

            You are so right MaddMike51, I'm just waiting for the state of New York to test some of it's retailers and see what cheaters they come up with..I had a few diffrent retailers try to pull a fast one on me ...I called New York Lottery and was told '''Your on your own,basiclly''..New York State Lottery just doesn't seem to care if you play or not...