Ohio Lottery’s office of security announced another in a series of arrests in their recent statewide Retailer Compliance Inspection Program.
The June 30 arrest of Sadhuram R. Patel, 47, owner of Vale Edge Market, came after a six-week investigation conducted by the Ravenna Police Department and Ohio Lottery investigators.
The investigation began after Ravenna Police detectives notified the Lottery of their suspicions regarding Patel. Patel was arrested by Ravenna Police at the store.
Patel faces felony charges after alleged false claims to owning winning Lottery tickets.
Designed by the Ohio Lottery Commission and carried out in voluntary cooperation with local law enforcement, the Retailer Compliance Inspection Program aims to “protect Lottery customers by ensuring that winning tickets are not wrongfully claimed by retailers or their employees.”
“We want our players, and all Ohioans, to know that we take complaints by customers seriously,” said Marie Kilbane in the Ohio Lottery’s office of communications.
“The vast majority of our retailers do an outstanding job as sellers of Ohio Lottery games. The goal of the Ohio Lottery’s new compliance program is to protect our retailers’ business and the integrity of our operations.”
The program – carried out as a sting operation in which Ohio Lottery investigators pose as customers with winning tickets to be validated – is expected to yield additional arrests in the coming months.
Ohio Lottery investigators accompanied Ravenna Police on Patel’s arrest. The Ohio Lottery immediately suspended Patel’s license to sell Lottery products and seized all Lottery equipment from the store.
Patel faces fourth-degree felony counts of theft and telecommunications fraud.
After the arrest, Patel was transported to the Ravenna Police Department for processing. As of press time, he was expected to be moved by police to the Portage County Jail.
The arrest comes only a couple short weeks after Mahmoud A. Ikhlayel, a clerk employed at the Downtowner Marathon in Columbus, was arrested after a lengthy investigation.
“Since February, the Ohio Lottery has conducted 40 investigations based on prior complaints or suspicious activity,” said Kilbane. “Of that number, six have warranted further investigation.”
Last year alone, Ohio Lottery retailers earned $150.1 million in commissions and bonuses for selling Ohio Lottery games, according to Kilbane.
Learn more about the Ohio Lottery’s Retailer Compliance Inspection Program at www.OhioLottery.com.