Defendant Attempted To Reverse Lottery’s Decision To Deny Payment on Winning Tickets Illegally Submitted by His Son; Judge Prohibits Defendant From Engaging in Gaming or Lottery Activity
BOSTON — The owner of a Dorchester convenience store can no longer sell lottery tickets after pleading guilty 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 had refused to pay, believing the tickets were illegally submitted, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
Tuan Tquan, a.k.a. Tommy Tran, age 59, who owns Smoke Shop and More in Dorchester, pleaded guilty in Dorchester District Court to the charge of Illegal Gratuity to a Public Employee (1 count). Judge Samir Zaganjori sentenced Tquan to probation for a period of two years and ordered him to stay away from the involved lottery official, and not engage in any gaming or lottery activity without authorization. The $500 he used to pay the bribe was forfeited.
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 Tquan’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. His son appealed the Lottery’s denial.
While the appeal was pending, Tquan 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 offered to give the Lottery official $500 if he would pay 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 May 25 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.
On the day of his plea, Tquan was arraigned on additional charges related to the seizure of six illegal gaming machines from his convenience store on June 30. The illegal machines were discovered when Lottery officials visited Tquan’s store, following his initial arrest, to serve him with a notice of his suspension and remove the Lottery’s equipment from his store. The machines were later seized during the execution of a search warrant. Tquan pleaded not guilty to Keeping a Common Gaming House and Unlawful Operation of Gaming Devices. The gaming case against Tquan is pending, and he is due back in court on October 26 for a pretrial hearing.
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, along with the Massachusetts Lottery Commission. The gaming case was investigated by the AG’s Gaming Enforcement Division.