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Connecticut men charged with rigging machines in lottery scheme

Connecticut LotteryConnecticut Lottery: Connecticut men charged with rigging machines in lottery scheme
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Investigators uncover more than 20 retailers suspected of cheating

WALLINGFORD, Ct. — State authorities continue to investigate the rigging of a Connecticut Lottery game they say increased the number of winning tickets and the payout to retailers.

One store, operated by two Wallingford men charged earlier this year, took in over $200,000 in additional prize payouts due to the scheme, authorities say.

Rahul Gandhi and Prakunj Patel, both of 37 Jobs Road, Wallingford, were arrested in March by the state Department of Consumer Protection Gaming Division. Both men are charged with first-degree larceny, first-degree computer crime and rigging. All three charges are felonies. Gandhi is 43, while Patel was born in 1979, according to court records.

Gandhi, who was arrested March 4, appeared in New Haven Superior Court on Wednesday. He has yet to enter a plea. Patel, who also hasn't entered a plea, was charged March 1. Both men have since posted $250,000 bond and are scheduled to appear back in court on Sept. 16.

The charges stem from an investigation into the Five Card Cash lottery game at various retail locations throughout the state. The DCP's Gaming Division began investigating suspicious activity in October 2015, according to an arrest warrant.

(See Connecticut Lottery suspends 5 Card Cash sales after retailers found cheating, Lottery Post, Nov. 13, 2015.)

Also charged in the investigation were Pranav Patel, of 17 Revere Drive, Bloomfield; Vikas Patel, of 44 Windsor Ave., Windsor; Moinnuddin Saiyed, of 11 Freedman Drive, Norwalk; Shaifur Rahman, address unknown; Abul Khan, of 212 Metcalf Road, Tolland; and Sedat Kurutan, of 23 Wild Cherry Drive, Naugatuck.

The DCP has an ongoing investigation into the 5 Card Cash lottery game, said agency spokeswoman Lora Rae Anderson. She didn't comment on whether those charged in the investigation were working together or independently.

"The investigation to date has focused on retailers with the most egregious cashing activity associated with the instant win of 5 Card Cash. The Gaming Division has expanded its research into retailer conduct with this game, and has identified an additional 20 retailers with suspected fraudulent activity," Anderson said in a statement.

According to Gandhi's arrest warrant, Connecticut Lottery Corporation swapped out five terminals at stores throughout the state after identifying the locations as having a higher percentage of winning 5 Card Cash tickets. Lottery officials initially thought there might be an issue with the random number generator component in the terminals, the warrant said. The five stores were located in New Haven, East Hartford, Bethel, Stamford and Danbury.

The 5 Card Cash game involves a customer receiving a ticket with five playing card symbols printed out randomly. There are instant and daily drawing win chances. The rules for a winning ticket follow poker hand rules, such as a full house or royal flush, according to the warrant. The maximum prize for an instant win is $5,555 and the maximum prize for a daily drawing is $255,555. An investigator conducting routine inspections of several locations noticed suspicious stacks of printed Five Card Cash tickets at two locations, the warrant noted.

Investigators discovered if the clerk printing the ticket manipulates the terminal while running a report, they are able to see the symbols that will print out on the next ticket, the warrant said. The clerk can then cancel the transaction for a losing ticket or proceed with the transaction for a winning ticket, the warrant continued. If the transaction is canceled, the warrant added, no record of the losing ticket is logged.

Westville Quality Market on Alden Avenue in New Haven was one of the stores investigated. Prakunj Patel, of Wallingford, is the owner of the store, the warrant said. The investigation showed the terminal in the store was manipulated. An investigator went to the store on Nov. 9, 2015 and met with Gandhi, also of Wallingford, who identified himself as the store manager, the warrant noted. Gandhi initially denied manipulating the machine but later admitted to it after investigators confronted him with evidence, the warrant said.

Gandhi told authorities he discovered the process inadvertently in January 2015. An investigator noticed a pile of 83 5 Card Cash tickets on the counter while speaking to Gandhi, according to the warrant. Gandhi admitted the tickets were produced by manipulating the machine, the warrant stated.

During the investigation, authorities determined at one point there was a streak of nine winning tickets printed at the store. According to the warrant, the statistical chance of having just six winning tickets print in succession is .02 percent, or 1 in 5,395.

Retailers receive a prize payout if a winning ticket is sold. Officials determined the statistical prize payout for retailers in the state and compared it to the prize payout reported at Westville Quality Market. According to the warrant, the store received $216,050 more than it would have without the manipulation.

Authorities compared the percentage of winning tickets at the New Haven store with five other locations throughout the state. The New Haven location has a winning ticket percentage around 60 percent, while the other locations all reported a winning ticket percentage around 24 percent.

The warrant also noted that in December 2014, an instant win ticket for the maximum prize of $5,555 was recorded in the system, and later cashed by Gandhi in March 2015.

Record-Journal, Lottery Post Staff

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20 comments. Last comment 4 months ago by gopher07.
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Happy California
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Posted: July 13, 2016, 7:17 pm - IP Logged

 GREED. There are probably more cheaters than those listed. 

 Great work was done by the Department of Consumer Protection Gaming Division!

 Confused

 I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, rich is better. 

 Attributed to Joe E. Lewis and others

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    Simpsonville
    United States
    Member #163189
    January 22, 2015
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    Posted: July 13, 2016, 7:46 pm - IP Logged

     GREED. There are probably more cheaters than those listed. 

     Great work was done by the Department of Consumer Protection Gaming Division!

     Confused

    Look @ the common denominator as far as last names go.

    With crimes like this I wish restitution/probation was the only punishment.  Probation for like five years, mess up get the full sentence.

      noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
      Bay Area - California
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      December 12, 2012
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      Posted: July 13, 2016, 8:28 pm - IP Logged

      Look @ the common denominator as far as last names go.

      With crimes like this I wish restitution/probation was the only punishment.  Probation for like five years, mess up get the full sentence.

      Common denominator huh Bleudog?

      Hmmm- as Walter White would put it " Say My Name! "-  Go ahead & Do It, what are you waiting for, say the name- Do it!

      People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

        music*'s avatar - nw bookeep.jpg
        Happy California
        United States
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        August 2, 2014
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        Posted: July 13, 2016, 8:36 pm - IP Logged

        Common denominator huh Bleudog?

        Hmmm- as Walter White would put it " Say My Name! "-  Go ahead & Do It, what are you waiting for, say the name- Do it!

         Of course, the name is "Patel". Most veteran LP members know this already. Angry

         I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, rich is better. 

         Attributed to Joe E. Lewis and others

          MzDuffleBaglady's avatar - Lottery-018.jpg

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          October 16, 2009
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          Posted: July 13, 2016, 9:56 pm - IP Logged

          @ Patel  Thud

          The Struggle is real!

            mypiemaster's avatar - 2015021003pileofcash
            JACKPOT HUNTER

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            Member #141034
            April 2, 2013
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            Posted: July 13, 2016, 11:43 pm - IP Logged

            Here we go again. Same ol' crap featuring the usual suspects. That name must be cursed or at least synonymous with sticky fingers.

            Seek and 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****

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              Simpsonville
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              January 22, 2015
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              Posted: July 14, 2016, 6:22 am - IP Logged

              Three three three, that's where I want to be.

               

              IN may bump out NJ as the can't lose state as someone won $1 million on Powerball last night.

               

              This morning dog and I went to the lottery machine to play Powerball vs. doing it @ home.  The numbers she spit out look pretty darn good to me.


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                Member #172415
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                Posted: July 14, 2016, 8:45 am - IP Logged

                First 3/4 names are Indian and the last 2/3 names are Bangladeshi

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                  north carolina/virginia
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                  Posted: July 14, 2016, 9:33 am - IP Logged

                  My exact thought! Greed.

                    dr65's avatar - black panther.jpg
                    Pennsylvania
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                    Member #74096
                    May 2, 2009
                    22926 Posts
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                    Posted: July 14, 2016, 9:37 am - IP Logged

                    The Indian shop owners are very suspicious and greedy. They do not mind cheating 

                    our system but try and 'cheat' them. I bought something that was rung up higher than

                    what was on the shelf, questioned it and she said no its the higher price...I said no, its 

                    that price on the shelf, she said no..I said I don't want it then....she ripped price off the

                    shelf and said ok, ok, ok.....that isn't the first bad experience with those kinds. They are

                    shifty, greedy and underhanded. Lots of Patels in the news concerning lottery. No Nod

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                      Simpsonville
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                      January 22, 2015
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                      Posted: July 14, 2016, 10:59 am - IP Logged

                      The Indian shop owners are very suspicious and greedy. They do not mind cheating 

                      our system but try and 'cheat' them. I bought something that was rung up higher than

                      what was on the shelf, questioned it and she said no its the higher price...I said no, its 

                      that price on the shelf, she said no..I said I don't want it then....she ripped price off the

                      shelf and said ok, ok, ok.....that isn't the first bad experience with those kinds. They are

                      shifty, greedy and underhanded. Lots of Patels in the news concerning lottery. No Nod

                      'They' own many Subway sandwich shops and Best Westerns in my experience.  One BW in Massachusetts had so much chlorine you couldn't breathe in the pool area.  It was a no brainer why  no one was in there.

                      In Louisville, KY @ a restaurant a Black man was the cook there and wife worked there as well.  One of the Patel types brother kept harassing the guys wife.  He told him to stop, didn't.  Went to the relative/manager of the restaurant and told him to have that guy stop.  Still didn't.  Guy went out and got a gun; luckily he didn't shoot the harasser.  Going to have to find out if they  arrested the Black guy or not, he was wanted.

                       

                      Too bad you didn't drop the item on the floor and accidentally step on it.  But two wrongs don't make a right.  You just don't go there anymore and put it on social media.

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                        northern fl
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                        December 1, 2014
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                        Posted: July 14, 2016, 3:29 pm - IP Logged

                        I Agree!

                        Bluedog, it don't matter who they cheat, I was in sales for quite a while and was trying to get a Hotel chain as a client. worked with the top dog and he wanted a deal that I would charge the rest not Him a different rate and he would get a kickback,,,referral fee,,, from the others...all the others were Indian also but it didn't matter, what is good for him is all they care....I refused to do business with any of them anymore... even though it was a large part of my market. I was very fair with my customers is as so much I showed them what I was making off of them as my fee...I rather do business with Arabic, Pakistani any Islamic or Muslim before I would deal with Indian....I am not a prejudice person but when you keep on screwing me I learn. I will retract this statement if things change and I have someone show me I am wrong, I have dealt not only with a couple of indians but Hundreds....Never changedBash

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                          Simpsonville
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                          January 22, 2015
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                          Posted: July 14, 2016, 3:40 pm - IP Logged

                          I Agree!

                          Bluedog, it don't matter who they cheat, I was in sales for quite a while and was trying to get a Hotel chain as a client. worked with the top dog and he wanted a deal that I would charge the rest not Him a different rate and he would get a kickback,,,referral fee,,, from the others...all the others were Indian also but it didn't matter, what is good for him is all they care....I refused to do business with any of them anymore... even though it was a large part of my market. I was very fair with my customers is as so much I showed them what I was making off of them as my fee...I rather do business with Arabic, Pakistani any Islamic or Muslim before I would deal with Indian....I am not a prejudice person but when you keep on screwing me I learn. I will retract this statement if things change and I have someone show me I am wrong, I have dealt not only with a couple of indians but Hundreds....Never changedBash

                          That Black man turned himself in; I wish  he'd  sue  that blankety blank for harassment against his wife.  I've heard  horror stories of folks working with the India  Indians, once they learn the tricks of the  trade you are shown the door.  I'm sure there's a bunch of pyramiding going on too. 

                           

                          Anyhow djPowerball1234 hope  your numbers come in.

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                            United States
                            Member #173496
                            March 5, 2016
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                            Posted: July 15, 2016, 10:42 am - IP Logged

                            How about we all stop being racist and Zenophobic

                             

                            There is too much drama and hate in the world already....

                             

                            We are all human.....no one is infallible.

                             

                            Tipton is Caucasian.....how are we not calling out all Caucasians as rotten

                            Every race, gender, religion, nationality has bad apples

                            Let's do better people