Seven Connecticut store clerks or owners have been arrested after being accused of rigging a lottery game.
The 5 Card Cash game has been suspended since middle of November. That's because since the day it started, there was a way for clerks to cheat the game.
The first person who knows if the ticket is an instant winner is the clerk that prints the ticket and Eyewitness News learned some are accused of making tens of thousands of dollars off of it.
Angel Rodriguez used to play 5 Card Cash at Hartford Liquor on Capen Street. It’s a game that gave her two chances to win. A player could win once at the nightly drawing, but another right on the spot for an instant win. However, recently all games at Hartford Liquor stopped.
“We thought they had a lot of bills to pay and that's why they stopped,” Rodriguez said.
A Department of Consumer Protection investigation found at least seven cases of clerks cheating the game by pocketing 5 Card Cash instant winners for themselves.
Court documents show in some cases, clerks would pre-print stacks of tickets and weed out the instant winners. In other cases, they'd overload the system with ticket requests and cancel out any losing tickets.
Eyewitness News went to two stores accused of rigging the game including at Center Spirit Shoppe in Canton. The clerk inside locked Eyewitness News out of the store and told the station to talk to his attorney.
Over on Capen Street, the clerk at Hartford Liquor claimed ignorance.
Court documents show some of these clerks got very rich. In a span of five months, two suspects, Vikas and Pranav Patel made nearly $90,000 combined, in fraudulent wins. Longtime customers told Eyewitness News they aren't happy.
“When we play lotto, it's because we believe we're going to make some money and we're going to get out of this poverty and they're just breaking dreams,” Rodriguez said. “That's how I feel about it.”
Five other clerks were charged as well. Eyewitness News do not have the location of their stores, but their home addresses ran from New Haven County to Hartford and beyond.
Some will be in court next week.
As for the game, there's no indication as to when 5 Card Cash will come back.
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