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Lottery fraud nears $200M in Ontario

Feb. 5, 2009 at 10:48 AM

TORONTO, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Canada's Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. has acknowledged a forensic audit that suggests $198 million winnings were obtained fraudulently by insiders.

At a Toronto news conference, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Chief Executive Officer Kelly McDougald said the corporation's previous estimate of $106 million in fraudulent winnings was increased after an audit by Deloitte and Touche.

The most recent audit expanded the investigation into retailers to include their families and staff, the Toronto Star reported.

In the past two years, OLG has instituted anti-fraud measures such as requiring ticket holders to sign tickets before having them electronically scanned, along with self-scan terminals at retail locations. However, the Deloitte and Touche audit found scams involving retailers using "atypical behaviors" involving instant win scratch tickets and lying to customers about winning free tickets on regular lottery plays, the report said.

"Today marks the next phase in the transformation of OLG's lottery operations," McDougald told reporters.

She said the corporation's database of transactions containing some 200 billion pieces of data had been turned over to the Ontario Provincial Police, who said they would assign 14 officers to investigate suspicious winnings.

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