By Kate Northrop
After a year-long investigation, a former employee at Loto-Québec was accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from customer accounts that were supposedly inactive.
Martin Raymond, 37, a former systems analyst who worked at an online gambling call center at Loto-Québec, was accused Wednesday of stealing funds from customer accounts he deemed inactive.
He stole over $20,000 (US$16,000) from about 30 customer gaming accounts in over a few months between the winter and summer of 2020.
To participate in the Lottery's online gaming platform, players must create an account and provide personal information. The IT technician reportedly targeted accounts that were left inactive for an undetermined amount of time, which would have theoretically allowed him to embezzle funds without being noticed.
However, he was foiled by Loto-Québec's own internal security services that detected the suspicious activity, the Lottery said.
"The various control mechanisms and verification systems in place at Loto-Québec have made it possible to identify certain irregularities," Loto-Québec Head of Public Affairs Marisol Schnorr explained. "The police department was immediately contacted."
Québec's anti-corruption and financial crimes unit (UPAC) conducted an investigation into the employee's fraudulent activity. Court documents show that police obtained a warrant to enter his home in August 2020. One day later, the criminal behavior stopped. He was employed by the Loto-Québec up until May 2020 and worked for the Lottery for less than a year, files state.
The investigation led to formal charges against him, including fraud over $5,000 against a player, fraud over $5,000 against Loto-Québec, breach of trust by a public officer, unauthorized use of a computer, and possession of personal information for criminal purposes.
Raymond also has one count of fraud over $5,000 against an individual recorded in his file for events that occurred separately between 2017 and 2020.
The accused analyst did not appear at the Saint-Jérôme courthouse to hear the charges filed against him and was instead represented by his lawyer, Christine Brosseau.
"We have no comment," she told La Presse when questioned about the charges against Raymond.