29th of September 2010 Author: Ava Jackuard
Convenience store owners detained in criminal case
The Toronto Sun reports that another lottery scandal is brewing in the Canadian province of Ontario, with two convenience store owners arrested for allegedly masterminding an insider lottery scam to the tune of millions of dollars.
Full details on the case will be released at an official provincial police press conference Wednesday, with officials at present saying only that the matter comprised a 'high-profile investigation involving the fraudulent claim of a major Ontario lottery prize.'
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation remained silent, but a police source told the Sun: 'The people charged are the owners of a store and they have been charged with fraud in the millions."
Another source told the Toronto Star newspaper: 'It didn't happen yesterday, [the case] goes back a bit.'
An official police spokesman said the latest charges are distinct and separate from an investigation launched by the police in 2007 after a report by then provincial ombudsman Andre Marin revealed widespread corruption within Ontario lottery system .
In that case store owner Hafiz Malik was sentenced to a year in jail for stealing a $5.7-million winning ticket from a customer.
The Sun report notes that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has been plagued with problems in recent years, and that the Crown Corporation fired its CEO, dismissed its board of directors, changed its name and hired the present chief executive.
Following the launch of a wrongful dismissal lawsuit by previous CEO Kelly McDougald, a settlement valued at Cdn$ 747,925 was reached.
Ombudsman Marin's 2007 report claimed that legitimate lottery players had been defrauded out of Cdn$86 million in winnings by insiders - retailers and employees - working for what was then called the OLGC.
A forensic audit later found Cdn$198 million had been cashed by insiders from 50,000 winning tickets over the previous 13 years. Further disclosures revealed that OLG board members racked up Cdn$2 million in expenses in 2008 and 2009 for expensive dinners, gym memberships, nanny fees and other questionable claims.
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