Two people working as retail clerks in stores selling Wisconsin Lottery tickets have been charged with attempted theft, for falsely telling Lottery players that they did not hold a winning Lottery ticket.
According to a release (PDF) from the office of Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, 36 year-old Tyna Dull of Arena was charged in Iowa County Circuit Court, and 28 year-old Travis Ferguson of Gotham was charged in Richland County Circuit Court, each with one count each of Attempted Theft By Fraud. Dull and Fergison told Special Agent from the state Division of Criminal Investigation that the Lottery tickets presented by the agents as part of a Lottery compliance check, were not winning tickets. In fact, the tickets were denoted as winning tickets worth $5,000 by the Wisconsin Lottery for the scratch-off Lottery game Super Quadrupler Crossword. These tickets were specially designed so that when scanned at Lottery retail outlets, they would appear to be winning tickets, but these tickets could not be cashed in because of codes embedded in the tickets that alerted Wisconsin Lottery Claim Offices that the tickets were part of the compliance check, and were not valid to be redeemed for money.
The compliance check was performed by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue and the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation’s Gaming Unit, and took place in September, 2009. Special Agents from both departments went to 200 Lottery retailers throughout Wisconsin and presented specially designed tickets that appeared to be worth $5,000, to test the retailers’ compliance with Lottery rules and procedures. Of the 200 Lottery retailers, the vast majority handled the tickets properly.
Under Wisconsin law, if convicted, the defendants face punishment that could include fines of up to $10,000, imprisonment in the county jail for up to 9 months, or both. The charges in the criminal complaints are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. Ferguson will make his initial appearance in Richland County Circuit Court on November 3, 2010 at 9 a.m., and Dull will make her initial appearance in Iowa County Circuit Court on November 1, 2010 at 9 a.m. Future court appearances will be set at those times.