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Idaho Lottery Completes Six Month Security and Integrity Probes

BOISE, Idaho ÔÇô The Idaho Lottery has concluded a year-long process and six-month investigation to protect the security and integrity of all its games. Using undercover operatives and decoy high-tier winning tickets, the Lottery evaluated cashing procedures of these winning tickets at 130 of its 900 retailers in 50 cities and towns across Idaho. The net result of the investigation showed that 98.5% of all Idaho Lottery retailers had met all of the security and integrity criteria. Of the two stores that did not meet the criteria, one store employee has been arrested and the other store is still under investigation.

"We believe that security and integrity of our games is imperative for maintaining public confidence in our business," stated Jeff Anderson, Idaho Lottery Director. "This program was created specifically to protect our players and retailers from internal theft and fraud. The stores selected were a representative sample of all retail locations statewide. The net result shows us we are, by and large, successful however we do have room to improve."

With investigations beginning in February 2009, Idaho Lottery undercover operatives entered retail locations and presented special "Security" scratch tickets for claiming. These tickets were consistent in design and appearance of legitimate, current Idaho Lottery Scratch GamesTM. During the transactions, the retailer clerk's conduct was monitored to see if they understood the ticket redemption process, would assist the operative with Lottery questions, and to determine if any attempt to defraud the operative by retaining the ticket without providing a claim authorization receipt or by cashing the ticket and paying less than the value of the prize.

"The tickets presented for validation and claiming at all the stores looked like legitimate Idaho Lottery scratch tickets. When the clerk would scan one of the decoy tickets at a Lottery terminal, it triggered the audible "Winner, Winner!" tone, produced a "Claim at Lottery" receipt and advised the store clerk to tell the player, our operative, that the ticket needed to be claimed at the Lottery in Boise. The "Claim at Lottery" message indicates the ticket has a value of $600 or more." explained Anderson. "In just two instances the clerk failed to pay our operatives for the winning ticket. Both of those decoy tickets were presented by the clerk to Idaho Lottery Headquarters for payment."

Shawna McKelley, a now-former employee of a Stinker Store in Idaho Falls, kept a decoy high-tier winning ticket she believed was worth an estimated six-figure prize. When she brought the ticket to Lottery Headquarters to redeem it, she was met by Idaho Lottery Detectives and was arrested. She was transported to Ada County Jail with the assistance of the Boise Police Department. McKelley is charged with felony presentation of an illegally obtained Lottery ticket and could face a five-year prison sentence and $25,000 fine.

The second store that did not pass is located in Rathdrum and remains under investigation.

"We would like to recognize the cooperation we received from the Boise Police Department for assisting Lottery Detectives during this process," added Anderson. "We would also like to extend our gratitude for the cooperation and support of Stinker Stores. As a long-time Lottery retail partner, we know first hand that Stinker Stores cares about their customers and our players."

"One clear message this probe reinforces is for players to always sign the back of their tickets prior to presenting it for validation to secure their ownership," added Anderson. "Lottery tickets are bearer instruments and can be treated as cash. Whoever presents the ticket for payment is the owner of that ticket."

As the final step in this process, the Idaho Lottery will be working throughout the rest of the year with all of its retail partners and their employees on continuing loss prevention programs to further maintain public confidence in all Idaho Lottery games.


CONTACT: David Workman
(208) 334-2600