The state ombudsman is threatening legal action against the Iowa Lottery to obtain records in an investigation of the potential for fraud by retailers selling lottery games. Ombudsman William Angrick Wednesday told the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee that he wants to review consumer complaints after retailers themselves were Iowa lottery winners, a situation which was the subject of a recent scandal within the Canadian lottery.
"We want to see to what extent the Lottery has identified and reviewed multiple retailer wins," Angrick says, "is that something that they self initiate, is that something that turns on a lightbulb?" Angrick says the Lottery is withholding information that would help with his investigation.
Angrick says the lottery provided his office with a considerable amount of information, but specifically denied access to their investigative complaint files. Angrick says he has given the Iowa Lottery until January 28th to respond, or he will seek a subpoena.
Lottery Vice-President Mary Neubauer said opening up the files would threaten the integrity of the lottery. Neubauer says, "We have talked to the attorney general’s office about this matter and are seeking consultation from them about access to these files and what we can do to protect the integrity of the lottery. That is our tantamount and foremost concern."
An ombudsman’s deputy told lawmakers it would be naïve to believe that retailer fraud and theft have not occurred.