BOSTON — The owner of a Dorchester convenience store that sells lottery tickets has been arrested and arraigned in connection with bribing a Lottery official to persuade him to pay more than $5,600 in prize money on five winning tickets, the Lottery refused to pay because he had illegally transferred them to his son to claim on his behalf, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
Tuan Tquan, a.k.a. Tommy Tran, age 59, was arrested Wednesday and arraigned Thursday in Dorchester District Court on the charge of Illegal Gift to a Public Employee (1 count). Tquan pleaded not guilty to the charge and following the plea, Judge Thomas Kaplanes released him on his own personal recognizance with the conditions that he stay away and have no contact with lottery investigators and surrender his passport. He is due back in court on July 20 for a pretrial hearing.
The charge is the result of a joint investigation by the AG’s Office, the Massachusetts State Police, and the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission.
“We allege this convenience store owner tried to cheat the system to get thousands of dollars in illegal lottery winnings,” AG Healey said. “As a lottery sales agent, this defendant should be helping protect the integrity of the Lottery, not undermining it. We are thankful to our investigative partners for the quick collaborative work to put an end to this illegal scam.”
“The integrity of the Lottery is critical to our ability to maximize the local aid provided to every community in our state. This is an excellent example of how Lottery team members act to maintain the public trust,” said State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, Chair of the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission. “I am thankful for the Attorney General’s Office and the Massachusetts State Police for their collaboration on this case.”
“This is the latest demonstration of how the Lottery is committed to preventing fraudulent activity, and I am extremely proud of the Lottery team members who reported the attempt and assisted the Attorney General’s Office and the State Police in this case,” said Mark William Bracken, Interim Executive Director of the Massachusetts State Lottery.
Tquan owns Smoke Shop and More in Dorchester. On Nov. 23, 2020, Tquan’s son presented five winning Lottery tickets totaling $5,601 to the Lottery and signed five claim forms, verifying that he was the sole recipient of the payment and was not claiming the prize to assist another person in the avoidance of taxes. After finding discrepancies in the son’s statements to Lottery officials about where he purchased the winning tickets, the Lottery opened an administrative review and withheld payment for the winning tickets. During this process, Tquan told Lottery officials he gave the winning tickets to his son as a wedding gift. The Lottery ultimately determined that the defendant’s son was not the proper claimant for the winnings as he was not the purchaser of the tickets (a Lottery requirement), and denied his claims. The defendant and his son appealed the Lottery’s denial.
While the appeal was pending, Tquan allegedly called the Lottery official multiple times insisting that they were his tickets and he did not want to keep waiting for the money. On April 26, Tquan allegedly offered the Lottery official $500 to persuade him to pay out his son’s claims. The Lottery official reported the attempted bribe to the Massachusetts State Police and the Attorney General’s Office, who orchestrated a meeting between Tquan and the Lottery official on Wednesday, during which Tquan was observed handing the Lottery official $500 and walking away with the phony prize money he received in return. He was then arrested by State Police.
These charges are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Chief of AG Healey’s White Collar and Public Integrity Division Michele Granda. It was investigated by the Massachusetts State Police assigned to the State Office of Investigations and the Attorney General’s Office.
Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Co-host of Caught Up, storyteller, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.
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