An employee at an Iowa lottery retailer is charged with stealing a winning $250,000 instant scratch ticket. Iowa investigators said on Friday the woman allegedly worked in complicity with her mother and boyfriend to cash the price.

A 20-year-old employee at Casey’s General Store in Sioux Rapids in northwest Iowa found a winning $250,000 instant scratch ticket. As per Iowa’s authorities, Ashley Bosler scratched the bar code off a moment ticket and realized it was a winning top prize lottery ticket after scanning it.

Prosecutors at the Iowa Department of Public Safety allege Bosler did not pay for the ticket ahead of time. Image Credit: WQAD
Prosecutors at the Iowa Department of Public Safety allege Bosler did not pay for the ticket ahead of time. Image Credit: WQAD

Given that Ashley Bosler was too young to play (21 is the minimum age), she asked her mother, Sally Bosler, money to pay for the ticket. Then, Bosler asked a 26-year-old co-worker, who is allegedly her boyfriend, Johnny Long Jr, to sign the ticket to claim for it.

Iowa’s lottery officials refused to approve the payout after noticing scribbling on the back of the ticket. Buena Vista County Attorney said it was not clear who wrote on the card, but that Bosler’s boyfriend was not directly involved in the scribbling of the ticket.

“In the excitement of finding a winner, different ideas may have been suggested about how they go about claiming it,” said Buena Vista County Attorney, Dave Patton.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, the Iowa Lottery, and the Buena Vista County Attorney’s Office launched an investigation, and all three suspects were jailed on felony charges.

Defendants could spend five years behind bars

Bosler found the winning ticket at work on June 14. The 42-year-old mom, Sally Bosler, told on Friday her daughter and boyfriend thought they had won. Bosler, who was released on Thursday after posting bond, added she has no idea why she is in trouble. She argued she has nothing to do with any felony charges as she just gave them a ride to the Storm Lake Regional Lottery Office to cash the lottery ticket.

Nevertheless, Bosler never mentioned she gave her daughter $20 to pay for the already scratched ticket. Instead, she said she would never give her daughter money to play the lottery. When she gave her daughter $20 dollars, Bosler did not know how the money was being used to pay for a lottery ticket. Bosler said her daughter panicked after scratching the winning ticket.

Then, she continued saying that three days later, On June 17, she drove her daughter and Long to a regional lottery office to cash the ticket. On their way to claim the ticket, Bosler said that her daughter and Long talked about buying a home and donating some of the money to charity.

Considering the Powerball tickets are printed right in the moment of the purchase, the lottery tickets are safer from fraudulent employees. Image Credit: KTVL
Considering the Powerball tickets are printed right at the moment of the purchase, the lottery tickets are safer from fraudulent employees. Image Credit: KTVL

On Wednesday, July 26, Sioux Rapids police arrested the three suspects. Bosler said her daughter got fired from Casey’s amid the investigation. So far, Casey’s has not said a word about the incident involving two of the employees.

If convicted, all three suspects of Sioux Rapids could spend five years behind bars. Long, a farm laborer and her girlfriend are now facing theft charges. The couple is scheduled for bond hearings on Monday.

Iowa’s investigators unveiled Ashley Bosler faces charges of theft of a lottery ticket or share and aiding and abetting. Sally Bosler faces a charge of aiding and abetting. All the charges are Class D felonies.

Public defenders were assigned on Friday to represent Ashley Bosler and Johnny Long. Bosler’s and Long’s attorneys have no provided details so far about the case. Online court records don’t list the names of suspects’ attorneys.

Records show that Long and Ashley Bosler remained on Friday in the Buena Vista County Jail. Bosler’s mom was released after posting bail.

Theft and fraud phenomena among lottery retailers

Lottery officials have always dealt with theft and fraud incidents. During a research conducted in 2009, the Iowa Ombudsman’s Office found that some retailers and store employees looked steadily lucky in lottery games. The investigation also concluded the agency needs to do more to prevent and detect problems regarding fraudulent winning lottery tickets.

The inquiry warned likewise about “pick out,” in which lottery store employees keep winning scratch tickets and sell losers to the public. It seems like lottery institutions have faced fraud felonies starting from the very core of agencies.

“It is definitely a phenomenon that’s known about in the lottery security world. It sounds like the lottery has been keenly aware of that in this case, which is a good thing for players,” said Ombudsman investigator, Bert Dalmer.

Source: Omaha News