12 people indicted in mass lottery ticket disbursement scheme

a crime

Officials claim that the scheme included a practice known as “10 percent”.

Dina Roddick / Globe Staff / File

A grand jury has indicted dozens of people and three stores in Boston, North Reading and Chelsea in connection with a money laundering scheme and tax avoidance on lottery winnings.

State Prosecutor’s Office Maura Healey She said The fraud, allegedly committed by store owners and employees along with two Massachusetts lottery winners, involved laundering lottery winnings and “lying under oath on several lottery claim forms.”

Prosecutors said the charges stemmed from an investigation by the Massachusetts State Police assigned to Healy’s office, state police assigned to the State Treasurer’s Bureau of Investigation, the State Police’s Gambling Enforcement Division, and the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission.

Michael Sweeney, executive director of the Massachusetts State Lottery, said in a statement.

According to Healy’s office, the scheme included a practice known as “10 percent,” which is a term that refers to requiring individuals to win lottery tickets and keep a portion of the prize — sometimes as high as 10 or 20 percent — as fees from the real winning lottery.

“This arrangement allows the real winners to avoid financial obligations, including state and federal taxes,” officials said.

Healey’s office said the move was “designed to circumvent government delinquency tax collection through the Revenue Interceptor Program,” which automatically collects lottery payments totaling more than $600.

Between April 2020 and May 2021, the defendants purchased winning lottery tickets from the real winners in exchange for cash at a discount, the plaintiffs allege.

“Shopkeepers and employees sent the winning tickets to Frank Opie and Kenneth Grossman and their runners,” the officials said. “Defendants submitted to the Massachusetts Lottery Commission forms of false claims in which they declared, under the pain and penalties of perjury, that the winnings were theirs.”

The actual winners, Peter Marano and Adam Derbala, were charged with tax evasion and failure to file a tax return, respectively.

Prosecutors said Obie, Grossman and William McNamara used the lottery to launder money.

State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, chair of the Massachusetts Lottery Commission, said in a statement. “I am grateful to the Lottery Team, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Massachusetts State Police for their tireless and effective work on this case.”

According to lottery officials, the lottery is in the process of suspending the licenses of the three stores in question, the Underground Express, at 31 Winter Place in Boston; Richdale, at 4 Lowell Road in North Reading; and NT Lucky Variety, at 137 Arlington St. in Chelsea. All have been charged with conspiracy to evade taxes and may have their licenses revoked after the full review is complete.

Here are the 12 people charged, according to Healy’s office:

Frank OBE, 80, from Lane

  • False statement under penalty of perjury (2 counts)
  • tax evasion conspiracy
  • Attempting to obstruct/obstruct the administration of tax laws in Massachusetts

Kenneth Grossman, 69, of River

  • tax evasion conspiracy
  • Attempting to obstruct/obstruct the administration of tax laws in Massachusetts

William McNamara, 67, of River

  • False statement under penalty of perjury
  • tax evasion conspiracy
  • Attempting to obstruct/obstruct the administration of tax laws in Massachusetts

John Heller, 73, of Rivers

  • tax evasion conspiracy

Adam Derbala, 29, from Rivers

  • Failure to file a tax return

Peter Marano, 52, from Boston

Carl Volcker, 67, from Boston

  • tax evasion conspiracy

Baritush Patel, 48, from Reading

  • tax evasion conspiracy

Nelson Tejada, 43, from Chelsea

  • tax evasion conspiracy

MDGolam Talukder-Manik, 57, from Lane

(Employee of the Richland convenience store at 332 Nahant Road in Nahant)

  • tax evasion conspiracy

Ghanshyam Patel, 45 years old, from Malden

(employee at Robinson News convenience store at 1556 Eastern Avenue in Malden)

  • tax evasion conspiracy

Muhammad Khan, 52, from Medford

(Grab N Go employee located at 367 Washington Ave in Chelsea)

  • tax evasion conspiracy

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