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Iowa man accused of lottery fraud for cashing ticket on friend's behalf

Mar 31, 2021, 2:14 pm

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Iowa Lottery

Friend of lottery winner pleads not guilty

By Kate Northrop

An associate of a lottery winner pleaded not guilty to lottery fraud after being accused of falsely cashing in a $50,000 winning scratch-off ticket.

The Fort Dodge man was charged with one count of lottery fraud, a Class D felony classified as forgery or theft of a ticket, for turning in a winning lottery ticket that reportedly did not belong to him.

Skyler Sturgis Hay, 29, allegedly committed the offense in 2018 when he visited Iowa Lottery headquarters in Clive with friend Nicholas Martin Hanson, 41, to claim a prize for a winning scratch-off ticket worth $50,000. However, the ticket belonged to Hanson, who owed Child Support Recovery, taxes to the state of Iowa, college student loans, and various other debts to "numerous entities."

Hanson reportedly enlisted Hay's help in claiming the $50,000 prize to avoid paying off the debts that he owed. It's one of the reasons state lotteries require the identity of the winner upon claiming a prize to check for existing debts, including child support and taxes.

Hay successfully claimed Hanson's winnings from the Lottery on Sept. 12, 2018. According to court documents, Hanson then spent "the majority of the proceeds" on luxury items, events, and substances, including a 65" Phillips Smart TV, a vacation to Las Vegas, tickets to a Minnesota Vikings game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, signed football jerseys, and illegal narcotics including but not limited to marijuana.

Court documents also state that Hanson had tried to recruit other individuals to help him collect the winnings before he turned to Hay.

In February, Hay was charged with lottery fraud. A jury trial is scheduled to begin on June 29 at the Webster County Courthouse.

Hanson, on the other hand, was charged with ongoing criminal conduct, a Class B felony, in 2019, as well as several other Class C money laundering charges in addition to lottery fraud and substance possession. His jury trial is scheduled to begin on April 6 at the Webster County Courthouse.

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