Man Who Sued Dutch Lottery for Deception Imprisoned for $3M Fraud
Posted on: January 4, 2022, 04:45h.
Last updated on: January 4, 2022, 04:58h.
A Dutchman who took on his nation’s state lottery in a seven-year court battle and won has been sentenced to two years in prison for fraud.
Der Telegraph reports Ferdy Roet, 41, was convicted in a court in Zwolle, northeast Netherlands, of embezzling €2.8 million (US$3.1 million). Ironically, the funds came from the claims foundation he set up to help him sue the lottery for deception.
Roet took the operator to court in 2008 when he discovered it had misled players about the true chances of winning. That’s because, from 2000 to 2010, it failed to tell participants it allowed unsold tickets to compete for the prize pool, diminishing the odds for customers.
Roet’s foundation, Loterijverlies.nl, which means “Lottery Loss,” initially sought donations to fund the legal fight. Some 23,000 lottery customers signed up with the expectation they would receive compensation from the courts if they won.
The players argued they would not have purchased tickets had they known the true of odds of winning. After the court’s decision, a further 194,000 people joined, with Loterijverlies.nl promising to pursue their claims.
‘Foreign Piggy Bank’
But with the claims tied up in litigation, Roet began dipping into the fund, which prosecutors said he treated as his own.
He achieved this by creating inflated invoices from a company he controled based on the Isle of Man, a tax haven in the Irish Sea.
In his years-long battle, all the way up to the highest court, against the deception of the State Lottery that advertised incorrect winning odds, [Roet] created important case law,” said the public prosecutor. [But] as lord and master of Loterijverlies.nl, he had the war chest, and he then turned it into a foreign piggy bank for himself.”
Outed on Live TV
In 2017, Roet appeared on a TV talk show hosted by the Dutch American journalist Eva Jinek. She confronted Roet about a multimillion-dollar loan he had provided himself via his offshore shell company. He had used the money to purchase a luxury villa and a banana-yellow Lamboughini.
A stunned Roet admitted live on TV that he controlled the company, prompting authorities to look into Loterijverlies.nl’s money flows.
He was removed as head of the foundation in 2017. A year later, he was arrested by agents of the Dutch revenue service, FIOD, on suspicion of embezzlement and tax fraud. During a search of one of his homes, they found a Rolls Royce.
Meanwhile, Loterijverlies.nl members are still waiting for their compensation. The Zwolle court ruled the situation was too complex to be settled by criminal proceedings. The judge said the claimants will have to pursue Roet in a civil case.
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