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Winning retailers named by B.C. Lottery Corporation

Jun 1, 2007, 9:03 am

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British Columbia Lottery

The B.C. Lottery Corporation has gone public with the names of its lottery retailers who have won major prizes, following this week's scathing report by the B.C. ombudsman into lottery irregularities.

The report said lottery officials have failed to protect consumers from possible fraud by ticket retailers, citing examples of retailers winning thousands of dollars at a much higher rate than that of the public at large.

Some of the retailers being named by the corporation are speaking out, unhappy with the implications of being named.

Francis Yip, who owns Citimart Grocery in Vancouver, is one of the nearly 30 names posted on B.C. Lottery's website.

Since 2002, Yip has had eight winning Keno tickets, with winnings ranging from $3,000 to $9,000.

But Yip said he's done nothing wrong, noting he spends as much as $80 a week on lottery tickets and every once in a while he wins.

"So sooner or later I will hit one. It's not very uncommon, right. It's not very unusual."

Avendas Brito is another winning retailer. According to the BCLC, he's won four times since 1994.

Brito said he's uncomfortable having his name associated with the growing controversy over the ombudsman's report.

"I am an honest person. I am not guilty of participating to play the lotto, because there is no cheating involved."

None of the retailer winners have been charged with doing anything wrong.

CEO bonuses on hold

Meanwhile Solicitor General John Les has ordered an independent audit of the province's lottery ticket system.

He has also ordered the corporation to freeze all bonus payments to CEO Vic Poleschuk, pending the results of that audit.

"I am asking the lottery corporation's board of directors to suspend any bonus payments until such time as the audit that I'm asking be done is complete."

Poleschuk was paid more than $400,000 last year.

Les faced calls for Poleschuk's and his own resignation in the legislature this week.

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