Loto-Québec IT Guy Accused of Plundering Customer Accounts

Posted on: July 9, 2021, 11:47h. 

Last updated on: July 9, 2021, 12:05h.

Authorities in Quebec have charged an employee of the provincial gambling operator, Loto-Québec, with offenses related to the embezzlement of funds from customer accounts.

Suspect Martin Raymond was briefly employed at Loto-Québec HQ in downtown Montreal, pictured. (Image: Le Reflet du Lac)

Martin Raymond is a 37-year-old systems analyst who, until recently, worked in Loto-Québec’s online gambling call center.

La Presse reports he is accused of misappropriating just over C$20,000 (US$16,000) in customer funds. Around 30 personal gaming accounts were compromised during the alleged fraud, which is believed to have occurred in 2020, the newspaper said.

The accused did not appear at the Saint-Jérôme courthouse Wednesday to hear the formal charges against him, and his lawyer offered no comment when approached by La Presse.

Targeted Dormant Loto-Québec Accounts

Raymond is charged with breach of trust by a public officer, fraud of $5,000 against a player, fraud over $5,000 against Loto-Québec, unauthorized use of a computer, and possession of personal information for criminal purposes.

It’s believed he deliberately targeted accounts that had been inactive for some time, which allegedly allowed him to siphon money without initially arousing suspicion.

Loto-Québec told La Presse its internal security services detected suspicious activity from Raymond’s account.

The various control mechanisms and verification systems in place at Loto-Québec have made it possible to identify certain irregularities. The police were contacted immediately,” said Marisol Schnorr, head of public affairs at Loto-Québec.

According to court documents, Raymond was the subject of a year-long investigation by Quebec’s anti-corruption and financial crimes unit, UPAC. The criminal activity stopped the day after UPAC approached Raymond with a warrant to search his home.

Raymond stopped working for Loto-Québec in May 2020. In all, he had worked just a few months for the company.

When IT Guys Go Bad

Historically, lottery companies have proved to be vulnerable to insider fraud perpetrated by IT staff, especially when they have high-level access to computer systems.

In 2009, Giles Knibbs, an IT worker for UK lottery operator Camelot, got his hands on a list of serial numbers of unclaimed lottery tickets with certain digits blacked out.

Knibbs then set about forging 100 fake tickets, each with one of 100 different possible complete serial numbers.  

Then an accomplice, Edward Putman, went from store to store, presenting a different ticket in each, until he found a match. The $2.5 million ticket was accepted as genuine, despite the barcode having been deliberately tampered with.

The two conspirators later fell out over the share of the spoils, and Knibbs committed suicide in 2015 after he was accused of blackmailing Putman. In 2019, Putman was jailed for nine years for fraud.

Self-destructing Hack

The most notorious inside lottery job was perpetrated by Eddie Tipton, the former director of information security at the Multi-state Lottery Association (MUSL).

Between 2005 and 2013, Tipton and accomplices claimed millions of dollars in at least six jackpots from six draws in five different states. Tipton was able to install a self-destructing hack program into the random number generator so that it chose a set of numbers known to him on three days of the year.

But he got too greedy. He was arrested trying to claim a $16.5 million jackpot in 2013 and later sentenced to 25 years in prison.