Italian Police Arrest 12 People Allegedly Involved in Lottery Fraud, Claim $28M Stolen

Posted on: October 29, 2020, 12:27h. 

Last updated on: October 29, 2020, 02:59h.

Police in Italy allege that four employees of Lottomatica Holding devised a scheme to enrich themselves and their families by rigging the lottery in their favor. Lottomatica Holding is a subsidiary of International Game Technology (IGT).

Italy lottery IGT Lottomatica
Italian authorities say lottery workers tipped off their family members as to the retailers where winning jackpot scratch-off tickets were waiting to be won. (Image: Italy National Courier)

The Guardia di Finanza, Italy’s law enforcement agency, announced today that its Special Currency Police Unit has arrested a total of 12 individuals connected to the lottery fraud. Officials allege that four Lottomatica employees who were privy to the whereabouts of winning scratch-off tickets conspired with their families to win the multimillion-dollar jackpots.

“The investigations made it possible to identify fraudulent conduct carried out by employees and former employees of the gaming company on behalf of the State, who managed to ‘intercept’ and collect, between 2015 and 2019, four ‘Scratch and Win’ instant lottery tickets,” the law agency said in a release.

IGT bars its employees from playing its games. To circumvent that obstruction, the four lottery employees allegedly tipped off their family to the retailers where the jackpot winning scratch-offs were waiting to be sold.

IGT Cooperating

Police say those apprehended won a combined 24 million euros ($28 million). Two winning tickets for the “Super Cash” scratch-off worth seven million euros each were won, as well as two “Maxi Billionaire” games worth five million euros each.

The odds of winning the Super Cash jackpot are 1 in 15.84 million. Maxi Billionaire’s jackpot odds are 1 in 9.36 million.

The Guardia di Finanza says IGT and Lottomatica assisted in the investigation by providing police access to its computer networks, which identified “unfaithful” employees who used confidential information to identify the location of the winning lottery tickets.

The IGT said it plans to fully cooperate with the Judicial authority and suspended the four employees as soon as they were aware of the investigation.

Charges Levied

The 12 suspects have been charged with various crimes, including aggravated fraud, unauthorized access to IT systems, receiving stolen goods, and self-laundering illicit capital.

The suspects are facing lengthy prison terms if found guilty, according to the Thomson Reuters Practical Law overview of financial crimes in Italy. The fraud charge comes with imprisonment of up to three years, while a conviction of money laundering can result in a prison term of up to 12 years.

Revenues generated by the Italian lottery are for the public benefit, with the majority of the income set aside for the state treasury department, Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities, the horse racing industry, and social programs.