BOSTON — They appear to be among the luckiest Massachusetts Lottery players, frequently claiming large prizes and collecting tens of thousands of dollars a year, but Lottery officials suspect some of them could be involved in something more nefarious and are launching a new effort to prevent it.
The Massachusetts Lottery frequently compiles a list of people who have claimed at least 20 prize payments worth a total of $20,000 in a year — a win rate that catches the attention of Lottery officials — and shares those names with law enforcement and state and federal tax collectors.
In some cases, officials said, these claimants may be presenting winning tickets that belong to another person who cannot or does not want to claim it for any number of reasons. The true winner could be attempting to evade past-due child support payments, taxes or other debts which the Lottery is legally obligated to help collect, officials said, or the claims may be part of a money laundering scheme.
Beginning this fall, the Lottery will step up efforts to prevent any of those scenarios with a new policy that its executive director said he expects to cause a “major disruption” among professional ticket cashers.
Under the policy, if an individual claims six or more Lottery prizes of $1,000 or more during the course of any consecutive 12-month period, the Lottery executive director will have the authority to suspend that individual’s ability to claim additional prizes for a certain period of time, Executive Director Michael Sweeney said Wednesday.