Four school board employees who were allegedly cheated out of their winning lottery ticket by a retailer who had claimed the prize money as his own, were given a check for $5.7 million, plus interest, from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.
Ontario Provincial Police informed they had charged Hafiz Malik, 60, a former convenience store owner with theft and fraud after an investigation into “insider wins” at the OLG.
Police allege Malik, who was released on $60,000 bail, validated the group’s Lotto 6/49 ticket at his now-closed convenience store in midtown Toronto, however the customers were not told they had won.
He was charged with two counts of fraud of over $5,000 and one count of theft of over $5,000.
A lawyer for winners Lorraine Teicht, Paul Carlisi, Silvana Pincivero and Aurora Pincivero explained that his clients generally played the same numbers and discovered they may have been duped when they checked the OLG website for the winning numbers nine months before.
The OLG explained that when it received a complaint from the group in July, 2007 it launched an internal investigation and found out the co-workers were the lawful owners.
The winning ticket was bought in Orillia, Ontario in June 2004 and validated by Malik who allegedly claimed the prize as his own in January of 2005. Lottery numbers
The OLG mentioned it investigated Malik at the time he claimed the prize, however CEO Kelly McDougald said she was not going to comment since the case was before the courts.
Generally, McDougald said that any “insider” who claimed a prize was subject to a series of questions, which she wouldn’t disclose, when they came to claim their money.
OPP said Malik’s arrest was part of a larger investigation into “insider wins” urged by a scathing report by Ontario’s ombudsman earlier that year.
In his report Andre Marin blasted the OLG because they had been more fixated on profits than the integrity of games after an excessive number of lottery retailers or their families had claimed winning tickets.
Marin said in his report that Ontario store owners and their families had claimed approximately $100 million in lottery wins between 1999 and 2006. This figure included tens of millions of fraudulent claims that had been ignored by the public lottery corporation.
Responding to news of the arrest, Ontario’s ombudsman stated that he was pleased to see the OLG and OPP take the “insider wins” problem seriously.