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Five Store Clerks Face Charges for Lottery Fraud

Five Twin Cities store clerks will face charges after failing lottery compliance checks conducted by the Minnesota State Lottery in past months.
According to lottery officials, the clerks told agents, who were posing as customers, that the specially-constructed winning tickets they presented for verification were losers, and offered to throw them away.
The clerks then attempted to cash the tickets at lottery headquarters either themselves or through accomplices.
The tickets were winners between $7,000 and $21,000, and the state lottery requires stores to refer customers to their headquarters for verification and prize redemption for all winnings over $600.
Along with the five clerks, three accomplices are charged with fraud. The suspects could face up to five years in prison for the felony.
The five stores that failed the tests could also face the loss of their lottery sale licenses. One hundred eighty-six Twin Cities stores were tested in all.
Though the state would obviously prefer total compliance, the numbers were within a reasonable range, said John Willems, director of alcohol and gambling enforcement for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
"From our standpoint, it is an effective program," Willems told the Star Tribune. "The overwhelming majority of people out there did the right thing."