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What Is Lottery Fraud? Two Massachusetts Cases

There are many crimes that can be charged in alleged lottery fraud schemes, and some of the most common include tax evasion and money laundering. One motivation for this is that Massachusetts garnishes unpaid child support and tax from lottery winnings over $600, so in some lottery fraud cases, the prosecution looks at the incentive for participating in or orchestrating schemes that avoid tax on the winnings. In two recent cases of alleged lottery fraud, several people and three stores were charged in alleged Massachusetts Lottery Fraud ticket-cashing schemes.

Lottery fraud can involve individual forgeries or thefts of lottery tickets. It can involve scams in which people are informed they have won prize money and asked to pay. Very often lottery fraud schemes involve multiple people, charged with greater or lesser crimes. In one of the alleged Massachusetts lottery fraud schemes, a family team of father and sons were accused of cashing in 21 million worth of lottery tickets. In the other alleged scheme, twelve people and two businesses were indicted by a grand jury. 

Lottery ticket-cashing schemes are sometimes known as “10 percenting,” where the person claiming the prize money is accused of taking ten or fifteen percent of the winnings to assist the original winner in avoiding tax. 

What Are the Charges Associated with Lottery Fraud?

Tax evasion, money laundering and various types of fraud (wire fraud, mail fraud for example) are a couple of charges commonly associated with lottery fraud. Lottery fraud also frequently involves related charges like perjury, conspiracy to fraud and conspiracy to evade taxes. In one of the Massachusetts cases, one defendant was charged with attempting to impede/obstruct administration of Massachusetts Tax Laws. 

Even if you are charged with participating in a scheme in which you are not accused of being the ringleader, the consequences of being charged with crimes associated with lottery fraud are serious. 

Charges associated with lottery fraud can be subject to state laws governing the lottery. Breaking these rules could result in fines and imprisonment. Frequently however, lottery fraud is associated with more serious federal crimes such as money laundering. Money laundering is almost always charged as a felony. Tax fraud is also a felony. Crimes of fraud that are associated with lottery fraud include wire fraud, which is also a felony. 

Being convicted of participating in a lottery fraud scheme can be extremely serious, especially if the defendant already has a criminal history. There are a host of charges that can be brought. Many who are accused of participating in a lottery scheme are not aware of the gravity of the charges. Even if the financial stakes aren’t as high as 21 Million, and/or the role of a defendant is not central to an alleged scheme, an experienced prosecutor can find a way to send you to prison and permanently tarnish your prospects.

If you are accused of any of the charges associated with lottery fraud, you should not assume your involvement will be taken lightly. It’s important to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At Dhar Law, our hard-hitting criminal defense attorneys know the charges associated with crimes like lottery fraud. We can help you understand what you are facing and protect your rights by building a robust defense. 

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Heading up the firm, Vikas Dhar is widely recognized as a leader in the New England legal community. An accomplished business litigator and a “Top 40 Under 40” criminal defense attorney, he has also been honored as a New England Super Lawyer/Rising Star in the area of White-Collar Criminal Defense for each of the past six years by Boston Magazine.

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