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Judge rules Massachusetts Lottery can suspend high-frequency winners

Nov 6, 2019, 5:54 pm

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Massachusetts LotteryMassachusetts Lottery: Judge rules Massachusetts Lottery can suspend high-frequency winnersRating:

BOSTON, Mass. — The Massachusetts Lottery last week won a court fight over their efforts to fight suspected fraud.

The judge's decision lets the Lottery suspend a family of players who have cashed thousands of winning tickets.

The Lottery says Ali Jaafar and his two sons are what they call high-frequency winners — people believed to be cashing tickets actually bought by others. The Lottery has long suspected that high-frequency winners are part of money laundering schemes.

(See Some lottery winning streaks have defied belief, Lottery Post, Jul. 20, 2014.)

The court case kicked off after the Massachusetts Lottery suspended the Jaafars' ability to cash tickets for 90 days. At that point the Jaafars sued the Lottery and asked a judge to issue an injunction that would allow them collect prize money right away.

Now the judge has ruled the motion denied.

But even with the court case decided, the Lottery said they're continuing to work with state and federal agencies on the issue of high-frequency winners and possible fraud.

"We are very encouraged by the Court's decision," Michael Sweeney, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Lottery, said in a statement. "While creating and implementing our policy, we have utilized a deliberate approach in the interest of being able to withstand anticipated legal challenges."

An attorney for the Jaafars did not return a call for comment.

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21 comments. Last comment 1 year ago by Stack47.
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grwurston's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
Win Today.
In front of my computer.
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April 24, 2010
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The Massachusetts Lottery last week won a court fight over their efforts to fight suspected fraud.

The judge's decision lets the Lottery suspend a family of players who have cashed thousands of winning tickets.

The Lottery says Ali Jaafar and his two sons are what they call high-frequency winners — people believed to be cashing tickets actually bought by others. The Lottery has long suspected that high-frequency winners are part of money laundering schemes.

(See Some lottery winning streaks have defied belief, Lottery Post, Jul. 20, 2014.)

The court case kicked off after the Massachusetts Lottery suspended the Jaafars' ability to cash tickets for 90 days. At that point the Jaafars sued the Lottery and asked a judge to issue an injunction that would allow them collect prize money right away.

Now the judge has ruled the motion denied.

But even with the court case decided, the Lottery said they're continuing to work with state and federal agencies on the issue of high-frequency winners and possible fraud.

"We are very encouraged by the Court's decision," Michael Sweeney, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Lottery, said in a statement. "While creating and implementing our policy, we have utilized a deliberate approach in the interest of being able to withstand anticipated legal challenges."

An attorney for the Jaafars did not return a call for comment.

I clicked on the "continuing to work" link in the story.  This is what it said.

Announced last year, the policy went into effect, after a delay, on July 27. It allows lottery officials to investigate — and ultimately penalize — anyone who wins 20 or more lottery prizes valued at $1,000 or more within a calendar year. If the lottery director determines a person's lucky streak is "factually or statistically improbable," the new policy allows the lottery to freeze the player's payouts for months.

So if someone comes up with a legit system for the Pick 4, and hits 2 straights in a month for a year, they're going to freeze their payouts? I suppose if no one else is doing it, they might  consider it "factually or statistically improbable."

But as the quote goes, People who say it can't be done, should not interrupt those who are doing it. (Props to noise-gate.)

"You can observe a lot just by watching." Yogi Berra, Hall of Fame baseball player.

The numbers will tell you what numbers to play. Pay attention to the numbers.

    music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
    USN United States Navy
    Fresno, California
    United States
    Member #157851
    August 2, 2014
    3959 Posts
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    There must be quite a few winners who want to skip out on their responsibilities.  Child Support. Judgement liens. Debt.

     "We are all in this together!" 

      FlaEmeraldGirl's avatar - wv7ekSz

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      November 8, 2013
      130 Posts
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      If I am not mistaken, the Jaafars were cashing scratch offs, and those are the type tickets that have received the most scrutiny.

      Scratch off packs can be microscratched and the winning tickets sorted out from the losers. The Jaafars could buy thousands of scratch tickets, microscratch them, have an accomplice scan them to check for winners (or just go to a self serve "are you a winner" scanner), and sell the losing tickets to others. The Jaafars may not be showing up on cameras buying the tickets if they bought entire packs of tickets in an off-site deal with a retailer.

      As already mentioned in reports, the Jaafars could also be "10 percenters", taking a cut to cash someone else's winning tickets.

      Unfortunately, journalistic anger at the "injustice" of "frequent winners" may spill over to Pick 4 games, even though there is no way for players to cheat true random draws. I am thinking also of those folks who buy multiples of the same number and play until they hit. Journalists need to leave those people alone.

      The odds apply to the overall game. This does not mean that certain individuals can't have lucky streaks in draw games, even though it is "improbable".

      Limiting how many times a lucky person is allowed to win a draw game just takes the hope out of playing.

      Congrats to all winners. $$$

      Good Luck to all players. Lep

        Avatar
        Chasing $ Millions.
        White Shores- California
        United States
        Member #136473
        December 12, 2012
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        Come on, let us be honest- would you continue to pay-out to this guy? l don't think so. Image result for jafar- aladdin

         * Voice of Reason *   

         

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

          Avatar
          725 5th Av,New York,NY 10022
          United States
          Member #197346
          April 9, 2019
          5351 Posts
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          These lottery officials wants to steal peoples winning

          If they do these type of things and people can’t win or get prizes no one will play they need to remember this...People will not play if they don’t win 


            United States
            Member #180290
            February 28, 2017
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            I clicked on the "continuing to work" link in the story.  This is what it said.

            Announced last year, the policy went into effect, after a delay, on July 27. It allows lottery officials to investigate — and ultimately penalize — anyone who wins 20 or more lottery prizes valued at $1,000 or more within a calendar year. If the lottery director determines a person's lucky streak is "factually or statistically improbable," the new policy allows the lottery to freeze the player's payouts for months.

            So if someone comes up with a legit system for the Pick 4, and hits 2 straights in a month for a year, they're going to freeze their payouts? I suppose if no one else is doing it, they might  consider it "factually or statistically improbable."

            But as the quote goes, People who say it can't be done, should not interrupt those who are doing it. (Props to noise-gate.)

            The lottery director can determine it is factually improbable for a person to win hundreds of scratcher, pick2/3, MB/PB from 500 different shops in 100 different towns. I remember reading an investigation (maybe NY) where a guy claimed 2 tickets sold minutes apart in 2 different towns and you need to take a ferry ride go get there.

             

            If a person has a "legit system" of winning pick 4, would they be doing it at 500 different shops in 100 different towns, possibly at different times of day and night?  As part of the investigations (from linked article) the lottery investigator would see if that person actually goes to that shop. 

            Tipton had a "system" that allowed him and his family to win less than 20 times a year.

             

            In another article I read, the Lottery Dept. can tell how many times a winning ticket was scanned  and where.  Why would a guy have hundreds of winning tickets scanned at 2+ locations miles apart unless he was a 10% verifying his purchase before he bought it.

              reddog's avatar - reddog 20avatar.jpg
              Durham, North Carolina
              United States
              Member #1616
              June 5, 2003
              3111 Posts
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              North Carolina needs to do the same thing!! Got all these illegals running around here needing to find a buddy who has a social security card to claim their winnings. I have seen it happen when I was at NC Lottery Raleigh office earlier this year and the guy and his wife neither one had a social security card or green card. That guy must have made like ten calls on his cell phone before they finally gave up and left.

              Taking it one drawing at a time.

                TheMeatman2005's avatar - lightening
                Brooklyn, NY
                United States
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                October 29, 2015
                1496 Posts
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                Don't get your panties all in a bunch people! This is to prevent people from cashing in tickets purchased by others, that for some reason can't cash the winning tickets themselves. 

                This is to stop illegal deals, not the legitimate player that buys a ticket and cashes it themself. 

                Most of the time, a winner will have purchased their tickets in the same town where they work or live, NOT all over the state or in 30 different locations.

                There are ways to tell where and when the tickets were sold. 

                You, the legitimate player are safe! Go buy your tickets and win the high value prizes.

                You have nothing to fear.

                The Meatman 🥩🍗🍔🍖🍤🌭

                “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.” Will Rogers

                Winning happens in a flash, Like A Bolt Of Lightning!  Patriot

                  TheGameGrl's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
                  A long and winding road
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                  June 10, 2005
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                  Don't get your panties all in a bunch people! This is to prevent people from cashing in tickets purchased by others, that for some reason can't cash the winning tickets themselves. 

                  This is to stop illegal deals, not the legitimate player that buys a ticket and cashes it themself. 

                  Most of the time, a winner will have purchased their tickets in the same town where they work or live, NOT all over the state or in 30 different locations.

                  There are ways to tell where and when the tickets were sold. 

                  You, the legitimate player are safe! Go buy your tickets and win the high value prizes.

                  You have nothing to fear.

                  Unfortunately the ruling does not specify that underlying reasoning.  So yes any person can be halted. That's where the problem with this ruling reigns.

                  I see skies of blue, ..and I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

                    Avatar
                    Kentucky
                    United States
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                    The Lottery says Ali Jaafar and his two sons are what they call high-frequency winners — people believed to be cashing tickets actually bought by others.

                    If it's illegal to cash tickets they didn't purchase, case closed. But it's obvious it was legal because the state lottery allowed them to cash those type of tickets in the past. I'd ask what is so difficult about making a rule that only the person purchasing the ticket can cash it, but won't because of the ramifications to winners of pools and people wanting to claim via trust. 

                      Avatar
                      Kentucky
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                      The lottery director can determine it is factually improbable for a person to win hundreds of scratcher, pick2/3, MB/PB from 500 different shops in 100 different towns. I remember reading an investigation (maybe NY) where a guy claimed 2 tickets sold minutes apart in 2 different towns and you need to take a ferry ride go get there.

                       

                      If a person has a "legit system" of winning pick 4, would they be doing it at 500 different shops in 100 different towns, possibly at different times of day and night?  As part of the investigations (from linked article) the lottery investigator would see if that person actually goes to that shop. 

                      Tipton had a "system" that allowed him and his family to win less than 20 times a year.

                       

                      In another article I read, the Lottery Dept. can tell how many times a winning ticket was scanned  and where.  Why would a guy have hundreds of winning tickets scanned at 2+ locations miles apart unless he was a 10% verifying his purchase before he bought it.

                      "The lottery director can determine it is factually improbable for a person to win hundreds of scratcher, pick2/3, MB/PB from 500 different shops in 100 different towns."

                      But according to the article the lottery director already determined they were buying the tickets (probably at a reduced cost) from people that actually purchased the tickets. 

                      "If a person has a "legit system" of winning pick 4, would they be doing it at 500 different shops in 100 different towns, possibly at different times of day and night?"

                      If you're talking about cashing 500 pick-4 straight tickets each valued over $600, no there is no logical reason because they still must fill out a claims form and are issued a W-2G. Now if you're talking about tickets each valued under $600, just the fact not all stores can cash even one of those tickets, there is a very logical reason even though 500 different stores is an obvious exaggeration. 

                      As someone already suggested, it's probably scratch-off tickets and with hundreds of legitimate reasons why it's much easier for some players to sell their tickets at a reduced price "because they need the cash now".


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                        February 28, 2017
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                        "The lottery director can determine it is factually improbable for a person to win hundreds of scratcher, pick2/3, MB/PB from 500 different shops in 100 different towns."

                        But according to the article the lottery director already determined they were buying the tickets (probably at a reduced cost) from people that actually purchased the tickets. 

                        "If a person has a "legit system" of winning pick 4, would they be doing it at 500 different shops in 100 different towns, possibly at different times of day and night?"

                        If you're talking about cashing 500 pick-4 straight tickets each valued over $600, no there is no logical reason because they still must fill out a claims form and are issued a W-2G. Now if you're talking about tickets each valued under $600, just the fact not all stores can cash even one of those tickets, there is a very logical reason even though 500 different stores is an obvious exaggeration. 

                        As someone already suggested, it's probably scratch-off tickets and with hundreds of legitimate reasons why it's much easier for some players to sell their tickets at a reduced price "because they need the cash now".

                        Yes, if a guy is filing a claim (only for 600$+) of hundreds of tickets from hundreds of locations, he did not buy the ticket originally.

                        The article is about 600$+  winners that have to file a claim, including back-tax check, child support check, etc.  A straight pick-4 is usually $1000.  If you had a legit system you would only get then from a couple locations near home/work.  If you won, say 50 times, and they see all from the same few stores where you live, then it is unlikely you were being banned.  I was trying to comfort grwurstan's panic attack of "So if someone comes up with a legit system for the Pick 4, and hits 2 straights in a month for a year, they're going to freeze their payouts?"

                          grwurston's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
                          Win Today.
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                          The lottery director can determine it is factually improbable for a person to win hundreds of scratcher, pick2/3, MB/PB from 500 different shops in 100 different towns. I remember reading an investigation (maybe NY) where a guy claimed 2 tickets sold minutes apart in 2 different towns and you need to take a ferry ride go get there.

                           

                          If a person has a "legit system" of winning pick 4, would they be doing it at 500 different shops in 100 different towns, possibly at different times of day and night?  As part of the investigations (from linked article) the lottery investigator would see if that person actually goes to that shop. 

                          Tipton had a "system" that allowed him and his family to win less than 20 times a year.

                           

                          In another article I read, the Lottery Dept. can tell how many times a winning ticket was scanned  and where.  Why would a guy have hundreds of winning tickets scanned at 2+ locations miles apart unless he was a 10% verifying his purchase before he bought it.

                          The lottery director said ANYONE winning more then 20 times a year. If someone hits for $5,000 straight in the Pick 4 twenty times a year, they may very well consider that statistically improbable given the 1-10,000 odds. 

                          This guy may not be buying the tickets himself at all those retailers but some how he is acquiring them. Perhaps he and his accomplices are buying up entire rolls of tickets. It seems rather unlikely to me that so many people from all over the state are coming to him to cash their tickets for them. That said, on the back of every ticket it says, "This ticket is a bearer instrument. Anyone possessing a winning ticket may claim the prize." And that's exactly what he's doing.

                          Tipton screwed up. He got caught because he bought tickets himself. If he had gotten someone else to buy the tickets that day, he would still be doing it.

                          "You can observe a lot just by watching." Yogi Berra, Hall of Fame baseball player.

                          The numbers will tell you what numbers to play. Pay attention to the numbers.

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                            Fort Lauderdale
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                            February 6, 2018
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                            They probably cashing in for those who owe child support arrears or microscratching as someone else already mentioned. A foreign alien can cash in their ticket but they will be subject to higher Federal withdrawal amount from the State. The lottery will find out where and what retailers had those tickets that they're cashing in.