Canadian lottery officials sue scammers

Nov. 14, 2011 at 5:54 PM
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TORONTO, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Canadian authorities say they've filed a lawsuit against a woman who presented a winning lottery ticket that was stolen from its rightful owner.

More than seven years after a Toronto-area woman redeemed a stolen Lotto Super 7 ticket worth $12.5 million, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. said it's trying to recover the money, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

The lottery corporation filed suit in March against Kathleen Chung, 30, and her family and their associated companies for "deliberately deceiving" the corporation.

The suit alleges in 2003 Chung's brother, Kenneth, 28, and father, Jun-Chul, 62, stole the free play ticket from its rightful owners who had validated it at the Variety Plus store managed by the Chungs in Burlington, Ontario.

The family members then passed on the winning ticket to Kathleen to cover their tracks and for her to claim the prize, the CBC said.

Chung cashed in the ticket in 2004 and her family allegedly deposited the proceeds in banks in Toronto, Seoul and New York, bought life insurance policies and purchased $10.5-million worth of properties, the lawsuit and land registry documents said.

Kathleen, Kenneth and Jun-Chul Chung were arrested and charged in September 2010 with fraud, possession of property obtained by crime and laundering proceeds of crime, the CBC said.

The Canadian government has not had time on its side in trying to recover the money.

"They've had seven years to try and hide it and transfer it to different accounts, different jurisdictions and to different properties, or spend it," forensic accountant Marilyn Abate said.

"As the time goes on, your chances [to recover it] become worse and worse."

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