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Six Suspects Arrested for Manipulating 5 Card Cash Lottery Game Terminals

Six people have been charged with manipulating terminals to produce more winning tickets for the 5 Card Cash lottery game.

Back in November of 2015, Connecticut lottery officials suspended 5 Card Cash after they noticed that it was producing more winning tickets than expected.

The lottery game consists of tickets on which five playing cards are printed. If the cards form a winning poker hand, the purchaser of that ticket can collect a sum of money. The ultimate payout is dependent on the hand a purchaser receives.

According to The Hartford Courant, approximately 24 percent of all tickets sold for 5 Card Cash were winners. At two locations where tickets were sold, however, this winning rate jumped up to as many as 76 percent.

Officials with the Connecticut lottery launched an investigation into this discrepancy late last year. They have since determined that several lottery retailers abused a software flaw in their lottery machines to produce a high volume of winning tickets and cash in on the proceeds.

“An investigator for the Connecticut Lottery determined that terminal operators could slow down their lottery machines by requesting a number of database reports or by entering several requests for lottery game tickets,” writes the Connecticut newspaper. “While those reports were being processed, the operator could enter sales for 5 Card Cash tickets. Before the tickets would print, however, the operator could see on a screen if the tickets were instant winners. If tickets were not winners, the operator could cancel the sale before the tickets printed.”

On Friday, the Department of Consumer Protection arrested Vikas Patel, 32, of Windsor Avenue, Windsor, and Pranav Patel, 32, of Revere Drive, Bloomfield, both of whom ran offending lottery retailers.

The two individuals have been charged with first-degree felony counts of computer crime and larceny as well as felony rigging charges. Both posted bail for $25,000 and are due back in court on Monday.

Four other individuals who are believed to be lottery retailers or their employees have been charged with similar offenses. They too have posted bail.

The Department of Consumer Protection reports that additional arrests are possible as it continue its investigation.

News of these charges come approximately one year after the arrest of an information security director who allegedly tampered with computer equipment in order to claim a $14.3 million jackpot.

Six people have been charged with manipulating terminals to produce more winning tickets for the 5 Card Cash lottery game.

Connecticut Lottery Failed to Report 5 Card Cash Fraud Concerns: Report

Published May 2, 2017 • Updated on May 2, 2017 at 1:37 pm

Connecticut lottery officials were aware of the potential for cheating with the 5 Card Cash game before the game was even instituted, but did nothing, according to a new report provided by the Department of Consumer Protection.

Tickets for the Connecticut lottery’s 5 Card Cash Game haven’t been sold since an investigation into fraud concerns began in 2015. The state learned from retailers that there were concerns over cheating in the cash poker-style game that allowed people to manipulate the tickets to win.

On Tuesday, lawmakers revisited the issue in a public hearing at an information hearing. The Public Safety and Security Committee invited the public to discuss the investigation into the game as well as the severance package awarded to the former Connecticut lottery CEO Anne Noble.

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According to the new investigation report, Connecticut Lottery Corporation officials were warned of concerns from other state lotteries about the potential for fraud with games set up in the same style as 5 Card Cash, but did not pass that information along to DCP’s Gaming Division.

During testing before the game’s launch, lottery officials discovered bet details could be seen by retailers on customer history screens, and the lottery took steps to monitor retailer activity as a result. However, this information was not passed along to DCP.

The DCP report states that as early as July or August of 2014 the lottery knew there were issues with bet details because of the information provided on the customer history screens, but no action was taken.

Eventually retailers found there was a way to essentially find out of a bet was a winner, then slow down the system and avoid losing tickets.

Despite lottery officials knowing about potential problems over a year before, the first report to DCP that there may be an issue with 5 Card Cash until October 29, 2015. That November the game was temporarily suspended and the lottery said it had plans to install new software to enhance security and eliminate the problem.

Multiple lottery merchants were arrested on cheating accusations, and lottery officials estimated some retailers earned tens of thousands of dollars through the fraud. Some of the money was recovered.

Iinvestigation led to a permanent suspension of the game. The state concluded that some lottery officials were in violation of reporting requirements and that there was cause to question the “suitability” of certain lottery employees.

Anne Noble, who was one of the officials under investigation, announced her resignation in August 2016 and officially surrender her license and stepped down in September. However, she stayed on as a paid adviser to the lottery board for several more months.

“DCP takes the investigation into the 5 Card Cash game incredibly seriously,” said Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull in a statement. “We remain ready, willing, and able to provide the information we can to the legislature and the public. Our investigation is coming to a close and we will provide further information upon its completion. I want to thank our gaming division for working so diligently on this matter, and the public for their patience as we work to finish our investigation as thoroughly as possible.”

Connecticut lottery officials were aware of the potential for cheating with the 5 Card Cash game before the game was even instituted, but did nothing, according… ]]>