Friday, July 12, 2013

Ex-lottery employee cashes $478 K in illicit winnings, loses it on lottery

Posted By on Fri, Jul 12, 2013 at 3:24 PM

REMMELE MAZYCK: In lottery days.
  • Arkansas Business
  • REMMELE MAZYCK: In lottery days.

You can't beat the lottery even when you get the tickets free. Read on.

I reported back in May that an investigation was nearly completed and a plea was expected shortly in the case of a theft involving a former employee of the Arkansas Lottery.

Took a little longer than expected.

Arkansas Lottery Director Bishop Woosley has a news conference scheduled at 3:30 p.m. today to discuss the news that Remmele Mazyck, 34, a former $76,000-a-year security official for the lottery, has entered a plea in federal court today to a scheme in which he stole almost $478,000 in lottery tickets between 2009 and 2012. The loss is covered by insurance, but Mazyck is committed to pay restitution up to $482,671, for tickets and store commissions, his attorney John W. Hall told me. But he has no resources to pay that amount.

Woosley told me in May that Maczyk had been placed on leave last October and then fired in November for failing to appear at a meeting on his work. Under the circumstances at the time, Woosley was only able to confirm his firing for failure to appear, not the underlying subject of the planned discussion. He declined at the time to confirm my tip that a plea bargain was in the offing related to ticket theft.

The case against Mazyck has proceeded against him under seal in federal court since Nov. 15.

Hall said Mazyck, when confronted, explained to authorities how he'd exploited a loophole in security to conduct the scheme. He checked out packs of promotional scratch-off tickets at the warehouse and used them himself, rather than dispensing them free as a promotional tool. He cashed $478,000 in winnings on the tickets at various retailers, always in amounts below the level that required presentation at the lottery office. He reinvested most winnings in more lottery tickets. He identified winning tickets by scanning them with a lottery scanning device to find winners, the basis for his wire fraud charge because the scans went through an out-of-state computer. He faced a money laundering count, too, for depositing more than $10,000 in cash into his bank account on one occasion. He'll have to file an amended income tax return to reflect the winnings and that will create a huge tax liability for him. The restitution will be set out in $100 periodic repayments.

High irony. Mazyck, like most lottery players, didn't end up with much money. He spent up his winnings trying to buy more winning tickets. "It's a cautionary tale, I suppose to gambling addiction," Hall said. "Even though you win $478,000 playing the lottery, you can piss it all right away." Hall said Mazyck also invested some money in the stock market, but lost on those investments, too. Hall said the plea was hurried this afternoon so Mazyck could be present for the expected delivery of his first child this weekend. He's been allowed to remain free until sentencing and faces punishment under the guidelines of 37 to 46 months in prison. He's living in South Carolina.

Hall contends the lottery came out ahead, after a fashion. Mazyck spent up his winnings on lottery tickets and insurance will pay for the nominal losses.

Woosley talked at some length at the news conference on how the scheme came to light — a retailer reported cashing of unactivated tickets — and Arkansas Business provides those details.

Mazyck came to Arkansas from the South Carolina lottery. He was hired by Ernie Passailaigue, the former Arkansas lottery director, who also came from South Carolina. He was an assistant to security director Lance Huey.

The criminal information was unsealed late today.

Also, the plea agreement was unsealed, but not a later modification.

The Lottery Commission release on the case:

Arkansas Lottery Commission Director Bishop Woosley announced today that former Arkansas Lottery Commission employee Remmele Mazyck pled guilty to crimes which relate to the theft of lottery tickets from the Arkansas Lottery Commission.

The charges allege that between November 2009 and October 2012, while employed as Deputy Director of Security, Mazyck used his position of authority to steal lottery tickets and cash them undetected. Mazyck cashed 22,710 tickets for a total $478,073. Director Woosley first learned that this activity occurred on October 26, 2012. He placed Mazyck on administrative leave that day and terminated Mazyck's employment on November 14, 2012.

ALC is fully insured for the amount of the theft through the Arkansas Fidelity Bond Trust Fund administered by the Arkansas Governmental Bonding Board and a supplemental insurance policy which ALC purchased following start-up. Assuming our claim is approved under both policies, the ALC will sustain no monetary loss from this theft. Further, if the claim is approved, no Arkansas student will be denied the opportunity to have their college education paid for by through use of Arkansas Scholarship Lottery funding.

In addition, our retailers sustained no loss as a result of the action of Mazyck. All cashes were paid by our retailers in good faith. In fact, without the diligence of our retail partners, Mazyck may still be here at the lottery stealing tickets.
ALC has evaluated and will continue to evaluate and strengthen its processes and procedures as necessary to ensure that this does not occur in the future.

Tags: , , ,


Speaking of...

  • Legislative committee refuses to OK lottery ad contract UPDATE

    January 18, 2017
    A review subcommittee of the Joint Budget Committee this morning failed to "review," or approve, the $34.5 million contract with CJRW to take over the Arkansas Lottery's marketing, which had been held by Mangan Holcomb. But that isn't the end of it. /more/
  • Challenges of lottery ad contract rejected

    January 5, 2017
    The latest on the contest of award of the contract to handle advertising for the Arkansas Lottery is a letter from the state procurement director,, Edward Armstrong, rejecting challenges to the proposed award of the business to CJRW. /more/
  • Protest filed over lottery's ad firm choice

    December 15, 2016
    Kyle Massey at Arkansas Business has a good rundown on a developing controversy in the advertising world — the Arkansas Lottery Commission's award of its advertising work to CJRW. /more/
  • Winners, losers

    December 15, 2016
    The Arkansas Lottery limps along with generally static revenue. It is under-producing money for college scholarships and the awards continue to lose ground against college tuition increases required by declining state general revenue support. /more/
  • Lottery ticket worth $1 million

    October 24, 2016
    William Tinzie of Forrest City claimed a $1 million prize with a $20 Golden Ticket purchased at Jordan's Kwik Stop in Wynne. /more/
  • Lottery reports revenue increase in July

    August 10, 2016
    The Arkansas lottery reported today that lottery ticket sales were up more than $6.5 million in July compared with July 2015, thanks in part to big sales of tickets in the national Powerball and Mega Millions games. /more/
  • Pine Bluff lottery ticket worth $1 million

    August 9, 2016
    Stacy Tackett of Pine Bluff won $1 million in a drawing from losing lottery tickets, the Play It Again contest, the state lottery announced. Her loser, which turned into a winner, was purchased at a Valero outlet in Pine Bluff. According to the lottery, she'll buy a  truck, set up trusts for her children and save the rest. /more/
  • Arkansas lottery up over previous year, still down from startup

    July 11, 2016
    Arkansas lottery sales in the year ending June 30 were up sharply over the previous year, if well below projections for scholarship proceeds when the lottery was established as well as earliest results /more/
  • Lottery revenue continues to improve against last year

    June 10, 2016
    The Arkansas Lottery reports that it netted $6.6 million in May for scholarships, about $200,000 above budget. That put revenue for the first 11 months of the budget year at $74.1 million, about $5 million above budget and $10 million above last year. /more/
  • Ray Thornton dies at 87

    April 13, 2016
    Arkansas Business reports the death this morning of Ray Thornton, 87, a former congressman, Arkansas Supreme Court justice and president of the University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University. /more/
  • More »

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • UPDATE: Retired Arkansas Arts Center director Townsend Wolfe dies at 81

    Townsend Durant Wolfe, III, retired director and chief curator of the Arkansas Arts Center, has died at 81.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation