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Jun 192014
Florida Lottery Officials Investigate State Retailers

iStock/Thinkstock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) — The Florida Lottery is looking for payback Thursday after four people were arrested in 48 hours on charges ranging from stolen property to grand theft.

The arrests were part of a sweeping investigation of nearly 100 Florida retailers for possible lottery fraud after it was found that, out of the top 10 winners in scratch-off games in the state, nine were convenience store owners.

Richard Lustig, who wrote a best-selling book after winning the Florida Lottery, said there were three quick ways store owners and clerks seemed to be gaming the system.

“They’re watching people buy tickets,” Lustig said. “[They see] a bunch of losers. They feel that that game has a winner coming up. No. 2 mostly involves preying on the elderly. They come in, they hand the clerk their ticket and say, ‘Could you check it for me and see if it’s a winner?’ They tell the person, ‘No, it’s not.’ The person walks out of the store and, in reality, the person has a $1,000 winner. So the clerk pockets it and cashes it in.”

“The third way is [that] a person in the United States illegally wins a big prize,” he said. “They don’t want to cash it in because they’re afraid of the publicity, that they’re going to be caught and shipped out, so they make a deal with the store owner or the merchant.”

After an ABC News report two weeks ago and other reports by ABC News affiliate WFTS-TV in Tampa, the Florida lottery zipped out a batch of public service announcements. The PSAs encouraged people to sign the tickets so that no one else could claim them.

Some clerks around the country recently have been caught playing their customers.

In Syracuse, New York, a clerk was convicted of swindling a customer, telling him that he had a $5,000 ticket when it was actually worth $5 million.

Experts said lottery players should not give a ticket to a clerk. If you wait a couple of seconds, a scratch-off machine will tell you if you’ve won. Lustig also suggested going to the lottery’s website and checking your ticket or calling the state lottery’s number.

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Jun 192014
VA Facilities to Be Subject to Monthly Inspections

Photo by Laura Segall/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — On Wednesday, Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson announced monthly inspections of VA facilities to ensure proper scheduling and timely care for all veterans.

“Our top priority is getting Veterans off of wait lists and into clinics,” Gibson said. “We need our folks in the facilities to work directly with staff, answer all questions, and ensure our veterans receive the timely care they have earned.”

Each of the more than 900 Veterans Health Administrations will be subject to monthly reviews as well as similar reviews by Veterans Integrated Service Network Directors. The directors will be mandated to visit one medical center within their area of responsibility every 30 days.

The on-site inspections will include observation of daily scheduling processes and in-person interaction with employees to ensure all policies are being followed.

The changes come on the heels of a scandal at the VA that saw employees falsify wait times for vets nationwide seeking doctors appoinments. The mishandling has a growing body count; dozens of vetertans died while waiting for treatment. 

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Jun 182014
Dept. of Defense Announces Identification of 17 Killed in 1952 Plane Crash

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) — The U.S. Department of Defense announced on Wednesday that they had confirmed the identities of the remains of 17 individuals who were killed in a 1952 military plane crash in Alaska, after their remains were located in 2012.

According to the DOD, a C-124 Globemaster aircraft en route to Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska from McChord Air Force Base in Washington state crashed on Nov. 22, 1952. The plane had 11 crewmen and 41 passengers on board at the time of the crash. Due to adverse weather conditions, the plane and the remains of the deceased could not be immediately recovered.

By December, search parties were unable to locate any of the service members, the DOD said.

On June 9, 2012, an Alaska National Guard helicopter crew spotted wreckage and debris in an Alaska glacier. After photographs and artifacts found at the site linked the debris to the 1952 crash, recovery operations began. In 2013, officials were able to confirm the remains of 17 service members, though the remaining individuals on board the plane have not been recovered. The remains of those recovered will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

The DOD said it would continue to observe the scene for potential recovery efforts. The names of the 17 servicemen who were positively identified can be found at the Department of Defense’s website.

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