Florida Lottery employee admits scam but manages to avoid jail

ORLANDO, FL – A former sales representative for the Florida Lottery must repay all winnings from scratch cards he stole. He also has to cooperate fully with lottery investigators probing similar scams as part of his sentence.

Steve Ragar, 59, was a sales rep for the state-run lottery for more than 20 years, but was fired last year after he was charged with organized fraud and seven counts of grand theft in a scheme involving instant-win tickets.

Circuit Judge T. Michael Johnson decided Ragar should reimburse the state not only for the winnings he pocketed from stolen instant tickets but also for investigative costs incurred by the Florida Lottery’s division of security. Mr Ragar will not be going to prison for his fraud.

It was revealed that Ragar had not won any big prizes but had pocketed nearly $5,000 from the stolen scratch cards.

Johnson also ordered Ragar to meet with the lottery’s division of security during his two-year probation and share “any knowledge of criminal activity involving lottery employees” or others associated with lottery games.

He used his job as a sales rep to cheat the lottery and lottery retailers which were billed by Florida Lottery for books of scratch-off tickets they never received.

Investigators learned of Ragar’s scheme when an auditor for Hess Express in Leesburg discovered that the gas station and convenience store was never given instant-ticket books for which they charged $1,900.

A spokeswoman for the Florida Lottery said none of the Florida Lottery’s employees are allowed to play the games, a longstanding rule that is designed to protect the integrity of the lottery.

source: Orlando Sentinel

Published: January 20, 2011

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