An Observer investigation uncovered dozens of N.C. lottery retailers or employees — the gatekeepers to potential fortunes — who beat improbable odds time and again to collect significant prizes at their own stores. Here's how unlikely that can be.
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A High Point woman won more than 40 times on scratch-off tickets worth at least $600 from 2011 to late 2015. The largest of her prizes totaled some $57,000. To win that often, according to Jan Hannig, a UNC statistician, she'd have to spend at least $756,000, including her winnings. Not including her winnings, her out-of-pocket spending would be a minimum of $233,000.
An undercover agent presented a Charlotte retailer with a ticket designed to appear like it was a winner. When the agent handed him the ticket, the retailer said it was not a winner, and switched it out with a losing one.
The Observer asked NC Lottery leader Alice Garland if she was confident that every prize awarded of $600 or more was for a legitimate lottery winner. Garland praised the "arduous security" the agency has, and said the lottery aggressively pursues people when they find that a "misdeed" has occurred. By Adam Bell - email@example.com
Alice Garland, head of the NC Education Lottery, said integrity is vital to the lottery, and that its crucial for players to believe the state is offering fair and honest games. By Adam Bell - firstname.lastname@example.org
Between 2006 and late 2015, no one had won more prizes of $600 or more than retired Seagrove potter Phil Morgan. He's won 111 times. Morgan, 68, says he often bets the same number multiple times on the Pick 4 game so if it hits, he wins a lot that day.
In June 2013, Jeffrey Williams and his mother, Jeannie Williams, stopped for a night in the mountain town 100 miles northwest of Charlotte. Jeffrey died from carbon monoxide leaking from a swimming pool heating system, while Jeannie suffered serious injuries. Six weeks earlier, Daryl and Shirley Jenkins of Washington State had died in the same room, but officials did not immediately identify carbon monoxide as the cause of death.
Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles and other participants in the Women's March began to sing, "We Shall Overcome," prior to beginning the march from First Ward Park to Romare Bearden Park in Charlotte, NC on Saturday, January 20, 2018.