The Dumbest Scams Ever Involving The Lottery!
Number One, The Parsleys.
The scam was really simple, and it’s a scheme that lottery officials see a lot.
Employees of liquor stores and convenience stores frequently would steal lottery tickets and cash in the winnings themselves.
This was basically that except with a twist.
Jackie and Ashley had a family member that owned a liquor store.
That family member passed away and the liquor store was put up for sale.
The lottery terminal was deactivated during the time the store was up for sale, because the store’s license to sell lottery tickets would have to be renewed by the new owner.And this is where the Parsleys come in.
They came into the store one day and activated a pack of Hoosier Lottery scratch-off tickets at the liquor store.
Apparently the tickets were accidentally left at the store, so they didn’t even bother paying for the tickets.
In the pack of tickets that they stole, there were more than a half-dozen winning tickets.
And one of them had a big payday for 2 million dollars!
The Parsleys probably would have gotten away with their scam if it weren’t for the estate executor for their late relative.
The executor noticed that Ashlee was listed as the winner of a $2 million lottery ticket, since stores get money for selling winning tickets.
And he alerted lottery officials.
Ashley and Jackie Parsley were both convicted of forgery, theft, and money laundering.
Ashlee was also convicted of perjury!
Number Two, William Foreman.
Former security officer for the Hoosier Lottery William Foreman knew a secret.
He knew where a one million dollar winning scratch off ticket was!
He got a list of winning tickets from a co-worker who had gotten it from the ticket manufacturer.
Foreman was smart enough to at least understand that he couldn’t go buy the tickets himself since he worked for the lottery.
So he revealed the top secret information to two of his friends.
He told them that the guaranteed winning ticket for the scratch off game, Bonus Spectacular, had been sent to a store called Otter’s Grocery in Cross Plains, Indiana.
So his friends rushed to the store and bought $640 dollars worth of the $20 tickets!
That was every single ticket that the store had.
The clerk later testified in court that she had never seen anyone buy that many 20 dollar tickets at one time before.
Foreman was clever, but not that smart.
He should have asked someone that he had no association with.
But it may not have mattered anyways.
Lottery officials had already known about the security leak, and they knew that Foreman was one of 3 lottery employees who knew about it.
So they brought the winners of the winning ticket in for questioning to see if they were connected to the 3 employees.
The lottery’s security chief immediately recognized one of the winners as someone Foreman knew!
Foreman along with his friends, Daniel Foltz, and Chad Adkins were arrested in 2004.
His friends pleaded guilty to theft and actually agreed to testify against Foreman for a lesser sentence!
Foltz and Adkins were both sentenced to only one year probation for their roles.
As for Foreman, he was initially looking at anywhere from 20 to 50 years in prison.
Instead, he was sentenced to 8 years of house arrest!
Numbre Three, Eddie Tipton.
He hijacked at least five lotteries that totaled more than $24 million dollars in winnings in Colorado, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, and Oklahoma!
He was able to do it because he had access to lotteries that no one else had.
Tipton was the former information security director of the Multi-State Lottery Association.
This association is responsible for 36 member lotteries, such as the Powerball and Hot Lotto lotteries.
Tipton actually never expected he’d even be granted an interview with the lottery association, let alone be hired and eventually become one of the most trusted lottery security officials in the nation.
That’s because he had pleaded guilty in 1982 for his part in a warehouse burglary.
He faced up to 20 years in prison for that felony conviction, but he instead was given just two years of probation.
Then a few years later, he was also convicted of stealing computer software from a department store!
However, he came clean on his past and spoke about both of these convictions during his interview.
They hired him anyway.
Shouldn’t this position be the type of job that needed someone with a completely squeaky clean past because of the huge incentive to cheat?
So how exactly did he do it?
Because he was a top security official, he had access to the lottery’s computer systems.
He was able to install a virus that manipulated the association’s random generation system.
This basically allowed him to predict the winning numbers!
It improved his odds of winning from roughly 5 million to 1 all the way down to 200 to 1!
But for all the computer programming he knew, he still wasn’t very smart.
Tipton’s lottery scams were exposed when he was caught buying a Hot Lotto winning ticket for a $16 and a half million dollar jackpot in a Des Moines store in 2010.
Because he worked for the lottery, he’s not allowed to play the lottery.
On November 9, 2011, Philip Johnston called the Iowa Lottery.
He claimed that he had won the jackpot, but he was too sick to claim the prize in person.
However, Johnson’s prize claim was turned down when he wasn’t unable to answer questions that verified he was the true owner of the ticket.
On December 6, Johnston called except this time he said the ticket was actually owned by an anonymous individual.
But the problem for him was, Iowa Lottery rules don’t allow anonymous winners, so the claim was turned down.
Isn’t this something Tipton should have known?!
Lottery officials decided to investigate deeper.
That’s when Tipton was exposed as the real buyer from surveillance tapes.
It also squarely put him in suspicion for other lottery scams.
His brother, Tommy Tipton, along with Texas businessman, Robert Rhodes were the main culprits that helped Eddie run his scams.
Both Tommy and Rhodes were both also charged with felonies related to the rigged drawings.
Tipton was sentenced in 2017 for up to 25 years for running the scams!
Number Four, Clarence Jones
This guy appeared to be someone who was able to figure out the Massachusetts lottery.
That’s because from 2011 through 2017, Clarence Jones cashed more than seventy three hundred winning lottery tickets totaling almost $11 million dollars!
No one is this lucky, and lottery officials aren’t THAT dumb.
Instead, what Jones was really doing was just scamming the lottery system and the government.
And he was helping real winners scam other people.
Jones worked with two store owners, George Kinslieh and Bhavna Patel, in order to run his illegal business.
Here’s basically how this scheme, called 10 percenting, typically works.
Someone with a winning lottery ticket wins money.
But they have financial obligations that they’re court ordered to pay.
And it’s something they obviously don’t want to pay, such as child support or alimony.
Or maybe they’re simply just trying to duck paying taxes.
So what these winners would do is find someone like Jones.
He would pretend to be the winner on their behalf.
And of course, for his services, he would take a cut for about 10 to 20 percent of the value of the ticket, depending on the situation.
Jones would show up at the lottery office to do all the cashing of the tickets.
Kinslieh and Patel were the guys who would propose the plan to the lottery winners they would see at their store.
After they paid out the actual winner, they all would then split the remaining money.
Needless to say, the government doesn’t like it when they know someone’s not paying taxes!
And of course, Jones wasn’t reporting the income he was seeing cashing the tickets.
In order to offset all his fake winnings, he reported on his tax returns as a professional gambler.
That way he could claim enough losses in losing tickets to offset the taxes that would have been owed since he “won” those tickets on paper.
During that six-year period, Jones paid less than sixteen thousand dollars in federal tax.
He reported a total of only fifty two thousand dollars of reported income in 6 years!
Despite ALL the tickets he cashed and his tax returns completely looking like a giant scam for years, the IRS STILL wasn’t onto him.
It wasn’t until 2015 when Jones cashed a lottery ticket that had been reported as stolen that investigators decided to secretly monitor Jones’s activities.
They used a GPS device to track Jones’ trips to various stores, banks and Lottery offices.
They also used a cooperating witness to secretly catch one the transactions on tape with one of the store owners Jones worked with.
Jones pleaded guilty in 2019 to conspiring to commit tax fraud and filing false tax returns.
He got only two months in prison, far less than the 3 years federal prosecutors were looking for.
But the judge took his deteriorating health and his financial situation into account.
Basically, Jones took the money and gambled most of it away anyways.
According to his Federal Public Defender Joshua Hanye, Jones ultimately lost more money than he actually made.
As for George Kinslieh and Bhavna Patel, they pleaded guilty for their roles in the scheme and they were sentenced to probation.
The lottery has now adopted a policy to catch professional ticket cashers.
Massachusetts Lottery officials look out for anyone with six or more lottery prizes of a thousand dollars or more during any consecutive 12-month period.
They have the power to limit that individual’s ability to claim additional prizes for a certain period of time!
Number Five, Viktor Gjonaj.
Real estate broker Vikto Gjonaj had a scheme for tricking people into fake investment opportunities.
But what he was actually doing with their money was…….investing it in Michigan Lottery games?!
For what it’s worth, he apparently really thought that he had figured out a way to win the lottery.
He just needed a lot of money for it to work.
Or so he thought.
The scam began back in June of 2016.
Gjonaj found investors by advertising that he had access to lucrative real estate deals.
He had set up a fake title company and raised roughly $26 million dollars from investors.
While they thought they were investing in real estate, Gjonaj was simply playing the lottery trying to win.
He was also using their money for personal spending.
At one point, he was spending more than a million dollars a week trying to win the lottery!
But from early on, he knew his plan didn’t work.
Because by 2017, he had lost more money than he had won.
That didn’t make him stop his scheme though.
He decided to just turn his plan into a pyramid scheme instead and see how long that would hold up.
He would get more investors in by telling lies of how much money he was making on the fake deals in great detail.
He’d just pay off old investors with the new money because obviously, he had no profits.
And he continued playing the lottery until he ran out of money.
He basically was a compulsive gambler who unfortunately had easy access to other people’s money.
It finally fell apart in August of 2019.
This was only because he ran out of money!
If he’s convicted, something that’s most likely to happen, Gjonaj can get up to 20 years in prison.
Number Six, Martin Hogan
This lottery scam that Canadian Martin Hogan came up with preyed on older people in the US.
He would call up his victims and tell them that they had won money in a Canadian lottery.
Sometimes he’d switch it up and tell them they had won money in a sweepstake.
But, in order to collect the winnings, they would first have to pay taxes, customs fees, or any other assortment of made up fees.
The 37 known victims were all over the age of 55.
Hogan collectively scammed the elderly out of roughly $2 million dollars!
This included a woman from Las Vegas who took out a reverse mortgage on her home.
She thought that she had won two and a half million dollars.
This is one of the worst types of scam.
They stole money from people who aren’t rich, from people that are close to not being able to work anymore, at a time when they needed money the most!
Hogan is now in custody in Canada after he was extradited from Jamaica.
His trial is scheduled to be later in 2021.
Number Seven, Odis Latham & Russel Sparks
One of the dumbest ways to scam a lottery has to be what these guys tried.
Odis Latham and Russel Sparks had a simple plan.
All they would do is just glue winning numbers on top of a losing scratch-off ticket!
We don’t need to explain to you that Lottery tickets aren’t as simple as they look on the surface.
Every ticket has a barcode or other identifier that quickly reveals the true value of that ticket.
These are tools that are specifically used to fight against fraud.
But who would have thought someone would just think of gluing fake numbers to the front of a ticket?
Let alone two guys coming together and actually AGREEING to go through with this completely hopeless plan!
Mississippi Lottery officials told police that the men presented a doctored $100,000 dollar Jackpot winning ticket that had winning numbers glued onto it.
Obviously, after a quick scan of the ticket, the barcode immediately identified the ticket as worthless.
Unfortunately for Latham and Sparks, they had to learn how lottery tickets work the hard way.
They were both arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit a felony and presenting a forged document for over a thousand dollars in January of 2020.
Latham was also charged with having a false ID!
Here’s what’s next!