Joan Lechleitner won more than $1 million on a Pennsylvania lottery ticket last year. Unfortunately for Joan, she was arrested for stealing money from her employer, which some was used to buy her winning lottery ticket.
Joan was a bookkeeper for a grocery store, as well as having worked at Agway. She and her husband rang up several fake purchases and returns at Agway, stealing approximately $175,000 since 2011.
The notorious act was a family affair. Joan Lechleitner, her fiancé, as well as her daughter and nephew, have all been indicted with various charges. Charges for each include four counts of conspiracy and one count of theft, receiving stolen property, theft by deception, and tampering with records.
James R. Ferrier, the Magisterial District Judge, let all four of them free on $25,000 unsecured bail each. They have a preliminary hearing scheduled for July 5.
Police say that while no customers were present, the family would ring up fraudulent sale returns, then take the money from the register.
Ronald Yordy, the business owner, installed hidden cameras back in January, where he was able to see the family in the act.
“A review of the video footage reveals a similar pattern and scheme of documenting cash returns and taking money out of register drawers. Defendants are seen at various times purchasing lottery tickets and scratch off lottery tickets.”
Back in September, 2015, Joan bought a lottery ticket from Agway in Cressona, where she and her fiance both worked. It was revealed that she had won a cash prize of $1,047,618, which she used part of it to buy a truck and other various items. According to The Morning Call, Joan was one of four winners of the Cash 5 Lottery, therefore she received her share of $261,905.50.
Lechleitner admitted to Pottsville’s Republican Herald that she regularly plays scratch-off lottery tickets and had won $10,000 once before.
There has been many other fraudulent activities involving the lottery, one including retail business owners.
One scam includes retail owners cashing in winning tickets for people who are either illegal immigrants, or have child support, back taxes, or other debts that would potentially be deducted from the winnings.
Another popular scam that is occurring involves store clerks being dishonest with customers cashing lottery tickets. One may win $1,000, but the clerk may say they only won $100, thus keeping the larger portion of the winning.
Terry Rich, CEO of the Iowa Lottery and NASPL’s president, weighed in this major problem.
“The bottom line is we’re trying to stay a step ahead of the criminal element. We have to have integrity. Everyone has a stake in that—the governments that receive the taxes and the people who play.”
Another lottery scam back in 2010 involved an Iowa man, Eddie Tipton, who was a former lottery security director of the Multi-State Lottery Association, allegedly using a special software device to alter the numbers on his brother’s lottery ticket. The lottery ticket cashed in by Eddie’s brother, Tommy Tipton, won $16.5 million.
Eddie was convicted and sentenced to 10-years in prison, however, he was eventually freed after an appeal.
Dean Stowers, Eddie’s attorney, says that Tipton was innocent.
“There’s just absolutely no evidence whatsoever that he did anything to alter the proper operations of the computers that were used to pick those numbers, absolutely no evidence. It’s just all speculation.”
More recently, in August, 2015, a Virginia woman, Ardella Newman, attempted to fraudulently cash a scratch-off ticket. The woman allegedly attached the top portion of a ticket to the bottom portion of another ticket, making it appear as though she had won $20,000.
This was not the first time that Newman attempted to fraudulently cash in losing lottery tickets. She previously attached parts of two tickets together and claimed she had won $52.
Any person who fraudulently alters or makes a lottery ticket and presents it for payment is guilty of a Class 6 felony. Apparently Lechleitner and her family decided that using stolen money to buy real winning lottery tickets was the better way to go, but that obviously didn’t turn out well at all.
[Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images]