Canadian convenience store lottery thief jailed


Store owner fraudulently claimed a $5.7 million jackpot

A lottery fraud case that occurred 5 years ago came to a conclusion in a Toronto court this week when Hafiz Malik (62) was sent to jail for a year by Judge Rebecca Shamai.

The case involved a $5.7 million jackpot the rightful proceeds of a lottery ticket purchased in June 2004 by Lorraine Teicht. When the lawful winner approached Malik's store to check her tickets, she was told by the accused that she had won only $10. Some months later, Malik used the ticket to claim the real multi-million dollar prize it had won.

It was alleged that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation paid him the jackpot without any formal insider win investigation, and Malik sold his store and bought a large house and luxury vehicles, the court heard.

His fraud was not uncovered until the fall of 2007, after an investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police and the lottery corporation showed that the ticket really belonged to Ms. Teicht and three colleagues at work.

In her ruling, Judge Shamai said: '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.

'The public's faith in the lottery system is undermined by frauds such as the one committed by Malik,' she stated.

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 the defendant's assets has realised just over $6-million, since Malik was arrested in December 2007. There is still about $450,000 owed to the lottery corporation, which included the interest payments on the jackpot.

Unfortunately, the real winner of the fortune, Lorraine Teicht, will not be able to enjoy her win - she died of cancer early in 2010 aged 56.

Before she died, Teicht provided the court with a victim impact statement. Her work colleagues mistakenly believed she had defrauded them out of the jackpot and the incident led to her being unable to trust people, the court heard.

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