Reselling winning lottery tickets – known as ticket discounting – can be profitable for both parties.
Buyers claim prizes and sellers go undetected by the government. Some sellers owe back taxes or child support, money automatically withheld from lottery winnings. Others may simply want to remain anonymous.
Here’s a look at how the practice works:
▪ In Florida, a man told investigators that he teamed up with several retailers who bought tickets from customers. He cashed the tickets, clearing the store owners of any scrutiny.
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▪ In a June Craigslist post, a Cumberland County, N.C., lottery winner offered to sell a $1,000 ticket for $800. “My tire is bad and I don’t think I will make it to Raleigh (to claim the ticket),” the ad read. “You can make a quick ($)200 today.”
▪ Cecil Etheridge, the brother of former N.C. Congressman Bob Etheridge, paid two store clerks near Raleigh $100 each time he asked them to cash a winning ticket, investigative records show. The clerks gave him the prize money the next day.
The clerks claimed nine tickets, data show, all worth $1,000 or more. They said most were from Etheridge.
Etheridge also cashed in 52 tickets for $73,000 under his own name and beat odds of 1 in 1,143 some 30 times.
He refused to comment.
▪ East of Raleigh around Wilson, people funneled winning tickets though Darren Skinner, an avid lottery player.
Skinner said he’d buy a $1,000 winner for $700 or $750. He only bought tickets from people he knew, and he said he never asked questions.
The original ticket holders remained anonymous, as did Skinner. He had his wife — whom Skinner said never played the lottery — cash all his tickets. She claimed 13 tickets for $46,700, data show.
Skinner is now a lottery retailer. According to state reports, his license was suspended for a month in 2014 after he had his wife claim someone else’s tickets. Skinner said the seller was a tenant who owed him rent.