June 11, 2010, - 6:51 pm
Sometimes, you can take the Arab out of the Mid-East, but you can’t take the Arab Street out of the Middle Easterner. Check out what happened to Susie Betts, who bought two winning lottery tickets. At least, they were winning lottery tickets . . . until the Iraqi store owners who sold them to her duplicated them and cashed them in “by accident.”
The Iraqi Arabs Who Sold Susie Betts Her Winning Lottery Tix Ripped Her Off
This isn’t a one-time thing. This kind of lottery fraud happens all the time and it usually involves the same kind of perpetrator. A Michigan State Police Detective told me he was involved in several investigations like these, all of them involving Arab gas station and convenience store owners, most of them Muslim. He said they often forge duplicates of winning numbers and tickets, and one investigation he was involved in had Hezbollah ties, as the owner was a Shi’ite Muslim who was involved in illegally raising money for the group.
Susie Betts says her luck ran out when she redeemed her winning Lucky Lines lottery ticket only to find out someone else had claimed the prize.
In the Lucky Lines game, players’ numbers are printed in full view on the ticket and players can see instantly if they have a winner.
The problem is, it’s also simple for store clerks to spot a winner before it’s sold. . . .
Betts’ complaint that someone had cashed in her winning ticket before she did is one of six similar complaints about the game Michigan Lottery officials have received. Lottery spokeswoman Andrea Brancato said the complaints are under investigation. . . .
“Since there are no drawings to determine Lucky Lines winning tickets and the tickets themselves actually contain all the information necessary to determine if they are winners, a retailer could assess the status of a ticket,” Brancato said in an e-mail. . . .
Betts bought her five Lucky Lines easy picks tickets at Randy’s Market on Mount Elliot in Detroit. When she tried to cash in her $5 winning ticket at a different store, she was told the ticket was already had been cashed in.
“At the time, I was just concerned about my money, but then I started thinking about it and decided to call the lottery and complain,” Betts said. “It doesn’t hurt the lottery, it hurts the consumers that are playing the lottery.”
All of the complaints to the lottery involve tickets that were printed before a customer came into the store, and could have been printed out to find winners, cash them in and sell the losing tickets.
After Betts’ complaint, the Michigan Lottery sent an investigator to Randy’s Market, who discovered that Betts had bought two winning tickets. The other was a $1 win, and had also been cashed in.
The investigator asked her what time she bought the tickets, and checked that against the time stamp on her tickets.
“Some of these tickets were printed out an hour before I came in the store,” Betts said. “They’re checking tickets and laying (winning tickets) to the side.”
Rouni Abdulahad, manager of Randy’s Market, said it was all a simple mistake: Another customer didn’t throw away his or her winning tickets after they were cashed in.
“My wife cashed it and didn’t throw it in the garbage,” he said. “It was on the counter; she didn’t know the ticket was not good.” . . .
R-i-i-i-i-i-ight. Just a simple mistake. Uh-huh.
Brancato said all of the complaints are under investigation, and no action has been taken. Abdulahad is still selling lottery tickets, including Lucky Lines, at his store. . . .
Betts, who was laid off from her automotive job two years ago, said she plays the lottery just about every day. . . . “I’d like to win,” Betts said. “I’d like to catch a nice hit and be lucky enough to pay off these bills.”
Yeah, good luck with that, when the Mid-Easterner selling you the ticket is ripping you off.
Sadly, Susie Betts’ story isn’t unique. Incredibly, the store owners who ripped her off are still authorized to sell Michigan State Lottery tickets. Why?
Tags: Arabs, Detroit, Fraud, Iraq, Iraqi, lottery tickets, Lucky Lines, Michigan, Middle East, Middle Easterners, Randy's Market, Rouni Abdulahad, Susie Betts