This sad story comes from our neighbors to the North. A Canadian woman and 3 of her colleagues were swindled out of $5.7M in lottery winnings when they hit the jackpot in January of 2005. The store owner told her she had won $10 and months later cashed the in the winning lottery ticket himself. Luckily, the fraud was uncovered and years later he has been sentenced to 1 year in jail. Unfortunately, the swindled woman passed away before she could recoup any of her winnings to enjoy and lost the trust of her friends. I’m glad justice was served and a majority of the winnings were collected. This, of course, would never had been a problem had they used LottoGopher. Here is the article from Posted Toronto.
Ex-store owner jailed for $5.7M lottery fraud
The prosecution of what is believed to be the largest “insider win” lottery fraud in Canada, concluded with a former Toronto convenience store owner receiving a one-year jail sentence.
A downcast Hafiz Malik was ordered to put his hands behind his back, handcuffed and then led away to jail yesterday after a defence request for a sentence of house arrest was denied.
Malik, 62, had been free on bail since he pleaded guilty last December to tricking a customer and fraudulently claiming a $5.7-million Lotto 6/49 jackpot in January 2005.
Justice Rebecca Shamai stated that a message had to be sent to ensure public confidence in the government-run lotteries.
“So many ordinary Canadians play the lotto in hopes of a little excitement and a lot of good luck. They dream of the big win. To those people the courts must speak clearly,” said the provincial court judge. Frauds such as the one committed by Malik “undermine the public’s faith in the lottery system,” she stated.
The fraud by Malik resonated with the general public even more than the crimes of Bernie Madoff, because of who was victimized, observed the judge. “He [Madoff ] defrauded rich people,” she said.
Malik has admitted he cheated Lorraine Teicht out of the $5.7-million Lotto 6/49 jackpot in June 2004 when she came to check her tickets at his store in west-end Toronto.
He told her she had won only $10. Several months later he claimed the prize as his own. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation paid him the jackpot without any formal insider win investigation, according to documents previously obtained by the National Post.
The fraud was not uncovered until the fall of 2007, after an investigation showed the ticket really belonged to Ms. Teicht and three of her work colleagues.
The Crown was seeking a sentence of 30 months in prison. Judge Shamai indicated that she would have imposed more than a year in jail, except for Malik’s age, his lack of a prior criminal record and that nearly all of the money has been recovered.
The court heard that the liquidation of his assets has recouped over $6-million. There is still about $450,000 owed to the lottery corporation, which included the interest payments on the jackpot. Read the whole article…