Million Dollar Casino Fraud: Loto-Quebec Scammed Out of Massive Sum, Kept Quiet for Months
Loto Quebec is investigating a scam which saw it defrauded out of $1 million dollars, information that the province’s government-run gaming outlet kept under wraps for months.
The report from Le Journal de Montreal is calling it “possibly the largest scam known in the history of the Lotto.”
The perpetrators apparently knew what they were doing, as officials say they’ve pulled the same shakedown at other casinos across the country.
Last August, the Casino du Lac-Leamy was the victim of a subterfuge in the form of two payments by bank draft not cleared by a financial institution,” Loto-Quebec spokesman Renaud Dugas told the Journal.
The newspaper suggests that it took two people to execute the fraud. One would play the part of a high-roller and request a cash advance from the casino, claiming it was guaranteed by his bank.
His accomplice would profess to represent the bank and would authorize the cash transaction, although it’s not clear whether they would do so from the casino or over the phone. It's also uncertain whether it happened in one transaction, or over the course of several.
Either way, the simple hoax allowed the scammers to disappear with C$1 million (USD $750,000).
Was it really that easy to make off with a million from a casino?
Loto-Quebec officials are revealing no other details around the scheme, and in fact, they never reported it at all until the newspaper started asking questions.
The incident is alleged to have taken place in August.
Police have since arrested a man from Brampton, Ontario, just outside of Toronto. The 52-year-old is facing charges of fraud and using forged documents and is scheduled to make a court appearance on December 12.
Investigators say they’re probing as many as a dozen other suspects, and more arrests could be forthcoming. The group has apparently pulled off other successful scams in Ontario, but were thwarted by casino staff in Alberta and British Colombia.
Taking the Fall
While Loto-Quebec officials insist that their employees weren’t in on the deceit, they apparently weren’t doing their jobs properly.
Lotto's Dugas says that an internal investigation revealed that some employees did not “respect the rigorous processes in place.” As a result, they have been disciplined by the casino, “up to and including dismissal.”
Despite the August arrest, officials have not confirmed whether the stolen money was ever recovered.
Loto-Quebec has already been in the headlines for the wrong reasons in 2018. The government-run gaming outlet sparked outrage when it tried to force internet service providers (ISPs) to block all other gaming sites in the province, which would give it an effective monopoly.
That bid was called unconstitutional by the province’s Supreme Court, which struck down Loto's claim earlier this year.
However, the corporation remains undeterred. Despite the loss in court, Loto-Quebec is appealing the decision in a bid to ensure it has the local gaming market all to itself.
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