The Investigators: Store owners cash in big on scratch-offs ticket

The Investigators: Store owners cash in big on scratch-offs ticket
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It's perhaps easy to see the draw for some to try and scratch their way to a nice pay day from scratch offs. Some tickets can payout as much as $200,000.

Stores owners, or retailers as the lottery calls them, sold $202 million worth of scratch off tickets just last year.

A sign outside of the Shell gas station in Mamou, Louisiana proudly boasts "we sold the winning ticket," and they did sell a big one - a $200,000 winning scratch-off ticket. In fact, the store's owner, Sajid Chaundhry, knows all about that winning ticket as it turns out. He sold it to himself.

The Investigators obtained a list of winners of scratch-off tickets from the Louisiana Lottery where people won more than $600 during a two-year period in 2014 and 2015.

A lot of the wins by Louisiana store owners were for $1,000, but some were much higher. For example, there was one win at a Shreveport convenience store, where the man listed on the tax records has won $10,000 twice.

"First of all, I think it's very important to note that the public's trust and integrity of our games is the number one priority for the Louisiana Lottery," said Kimberly Chopin, Director of Communications for the Louisiana Lottery. "We want to make sure that everyone, whether you're a store owner, whether you're a dentist, whether you're a plant worker, has an equal opportunity of winning every time you purchase a Louisiana Lottery scratch off."

Lottery officials said there are so many layers of security that it is virtually impossible for a store owner to know which tickets are the big winners.

However, a closer look at problems across the country found that, in some cases, a store owner purchased a winning ticket from someone who didn't want to claim their winnings because they owed the state money or back child support, which is often deducted from winning.

Lottery officials in Florida suspended contracts with seven store owners and California Lottery's investigation found one retailer who won 192 times.

Chopin said they monitor wins by store owners for patterns.

"We do monitor to make sure that someone's not having repeat wins of an unusual nature over certain time frames, that would be a red flag for us."

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