Remmele Mazyck. (Photo: Arkansas Business)
Arkansas Lottery Commission press conference regarding its former security official pleading guilty to stealing and cashing in tens of thousands winning lottery tickets. (Photo: Oran Hardcastle, THV 11)
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A former security official for the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to accusations that he stole tens of thousands of dollars worth of winning lottery tickets.
Remmele Mazyck, who served as deputy director of security, admitted Friday that he stole tickets that were intended to be free giveaways at the State Fair and other public events. This reportedly started shortly after he was hired with the organization in 2009 and continued until he was caught and fired in late 2012, according to THV's media partners at Arkansas Business.
The Arkansas Lottery Commission (ALC) said in a press release the charges allege that between November 2009 and October 2012, Mazyck used his position of authority to steal lottery tickets and cash them undetected. Mazyck cashed 22,710 tickets for a total $478,073, according to the ALC. ALC Director Bishop Woosley first learned that this activity occurred on October 26, 2012. He placed Mazyck on administrative leave that day and terminated Mazyck's employment on November 14, 2012.
In court Friday, Mazyck agreed to pay restitution of more than $482,000. To read more details about Mazyck's background with lottery commissions, visit Arkansas Business' website: http://on.kthv.com/158vOnb
The ALC's press release also included information pertaining to money lost within the organization and how it affects students and retailers. The commission said:
"ALC is fully insured for the amount of the theft through the Arkansas Fidelity Bond Trust Fund administered by the Arkansas Governmental Bonding Board and a supplemental insurance policy which ALC purchased following start-up. Assuming our claim is approved under both policies, the ALC will sustain no monetary loss from this theft. Further, if the claim is approved, no Arkansas student will be denied the opportunity to have their college education paid for by through use of Arkansas Scholarship Lottery funding.
In addition, our retailers sustained no loss as a result of the action of Mazyck. All cashes were paid by our retailers in good faith. In fact, without the diligence of our retail partners, Mazyck may still be here at the lottery stealing tickets.
ALC has evaluated and will continue to evaluate and strengthen its processes and procedures as necessary to ensure that this does not occur in the future."
THV 11 also spoke with the attorney for Remmele Mazyck. John Wesley Hall said that his client admitted in federal court on Friday that he has a gambling problem, and Mazyck told officials that he spent some of the ticket winnings at casinos and put some into the stock market.
"His life essentially is not completely over. He knows he's going to go to jail. He's just not sure how long. He's got a baby that's going to be born in the next 72 hours," Hall said.
A sentencing date has not been set yet for this case, but in court Friday, the judge said the maximum prison time on the wire fraud charge is 20 years, and the maximum prison time on the money laundering charge is ten years. The judge also said that each offense carries a maximum penalty of $250,000.
The lottery is hosting a press conference at 3:30 Friday afternoon to discuss the situation. THV 11's Max Seigle will be in attendance and provide information from the conference.
Less lottery money for scholarships next year
Arkansas lottery posts $89.9 for college scholarships