The Pennsylvania Lottery provides residents with the chance to cash in on life-changing prizes – but has every winner been legitimate? An investigation into the organization aims to find out, after a number of fraudulent cases have been uncovered across the United States.
Last year, lottery players across the state purchased $4.5 billion in tickets and earned over $2.9 billion in prizes. While that might sound like Pennsylvanians just had a very lucky year, there are some concerns that many prizes were undeserved.
Pennsylvania’s Auditor General Eugene DePasquale will be looking into the issue. He’ll be conducting an audit that will ensure the state’s Department of Revenue is actually doing its job in monitoring and identifying potential fraud by both winners and lottery sales retailers.
A fraud case in Massachusetts is one of the main incidents that has prompted DePasquale to launch his investigation. The man admitted that he had been buying winning lottery tickets to help them avoid paying taxes. Over the years, he managed to make $10 million by cashing in over 7000 tickets.
An earlier investigation by the Des Moines Register also discovered some worrying circumstances. It found dozens of lottery games across the country with identical winning numbers. In many cases, the numbers were drawn within weeks of each other, which only makes things even more suspicious.
While these issues don’t necessarily indicate that the Pennsylvania Lottery has been allowing fraud to take place, DePasquale wants to check up and ensure that everything is above board. He states:
“Some lotteries have taken major steps to crack down on suspected fraudulent claims and I want to ensure that the Pennsylvania Lottery is doing everything possible to prevent and stop any fraud.”
This is an important issue for the State of Pennsylvania, as lottery revenue goes to programs that benefit older residents. 26 cents from every dollar earned is paid out to a number of worthwhile causes, such as funding for free-ride programs, rent rebates, care services and senior centres.
If money is being misappropriated, then older Pennsylvanians will be missing out on valuable services that improve their quality of life. For this reason, we hope that there is no fraud taking place within the Pennsylvania Lottery system, so that seniors across the state receive the care and support that they require from lottery-funded programs.