Monday, September 06, 2010


The Kookfornia lottery has its own investigators to make sure the public does not get cheated out of their winnings. Undercover agents are sent into different stores with lottery tickets made up especially for their investigation. Each winning ticket is worth $1000. The "customer" (the agent) will hand the clerks several tickets to scan. While the tickets are being scanned, the agent will pretend to do some shopping. The clerk is completely unaware that the "customer" knew that one of the tickets was worth $1000.
The undercover agents find that a substantial number of clerks will tell them there were no winners among the tickets. After the investigator has left, those clerks will cash the winning tickets in or have a friend do it for them. When caught, the thieving clerks will face jail time and a fine. The stores which employed those thieves lose their license to sell lottery tickets.
The investigators have also caught some clerks buying the winning tickets for less than they were worth. Some customers are willing to sell their winning tickets for less – for example, $650 for a $1000 ticket – to keep the government from taking money out of their winnings to pay for delinquent child support obligations or for back taxes.
When Dateline NBC informed the New York State Lottery that it was going to conduct a similar investigation in that state, lottery officials immediately printed a prominent warning on each ticket that NBC was trying to catch clerks stealing winning tickets. When confronted about the printed warning, the state lottery director shouted that he was not going to allow NBC to make a ‘reality show’ out of New York’s lottery.
While Kookfornia may be full of kooks, it goes the extra mile in trying to protect the buying public. Each state agency or commission has its own investigators to ferret out wrongdoing. On the other hand, the New York State Lottery director has proven that the Empire State is full of crooks. I’ll take the kooks over the crooks anytime!

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