Lottery players in Arkansas are asking a judge to approve a class action suit, claiming they were short-changed after a former lottery official stole over 22,000 tickets, siphoning money from the game.
Two men in Arkansas filed a lawsuit against the Arkansas Lottery Commission, hoping to represent over 50,000 lottery ticket buyers who they say were harmed after a former employee stole tickets and received $478,073.
Remmele Mazyck, a former Arkansas Lottery Commission's deputy director of security, pled guilty last month to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering related to the alleged theft of 22,710 tickets. Charges against Mazyck allege that between Nov. 2009 and Oct. 2012 he used his position of authority to steal lottery tickets and cash them undetected.
The commission issued a press release on July 12 that states the commission director, Bishop Woosley, learned of this activity on Oct. 26, 2012, the day Mazyck was placed on administrative leave, followed by his firing on Nov. 14.
Mazyck allegedly scratched tickets to see if they were winners and cashed those worth less than $500, because prizes of $500 or more have to be cashed at a lottery office.
The original lottery law banned any employees from playing, but the law was changed in 2011 to allow workers to collect prizes of less than $500, the Associated Press reported.
The two men who filed the lawsuit, Raymond Brock and Rick Tomboli of Pulaski County, Ark., say the Lottery "repeatedly misrepresented to the public the number and cash value of the prizes still available in various scratch-off games," according to the court document filed last week in Pulaski County Circuit Court.
Rick Tomboli, 47, one of the plaintiffs, said he has spent "thousands" of dollars on buying lottery tickets almost daily starting in 2012.
"I knew I wasn't winning, but I just didn't know why I wasn't winning until a man stepped up and stole over 22,000 tickets and won almost half a million dollars," Tomboli said.
Tomboli said he stopped playing the state lottery after he learned a lottery employee had stolen the tickets.
"I am finished. I am done," Tomboli said. "I will not purchase another ticket as long as I live," he said.