A former call center employee at Loto-Québec is charged with stealing CA$20,000 from as many as 30 player accounts. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Accused faces litany of charges
A former employee of Loto-Québec stands accused of embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from the company that regulates Quebec’s gambling industry. According to the Toronto Star, 37-year-old Martin Raymond, who worked in the online gambling call center, has been charged with “breach of trust by a public officer, fraud over $5,000 against a player, fraud over $5,000 against Loto-Québec, possession of personal information for criminal purposes and unauthorized use of a computer.”
Quebec’s permanent anticorruption unit (UPAC) conducted the investigation
Neither police nor Loto-Québec, which is a government-owned corporation, has provided many details about the case. What is known is that Quebec’s permanent anticorruption unit (UPAC) conducted the investigation, likely starting it about a year ago.
Raymond allegedly stole about CA$20,000 (US$16,062) and compromised as many as 30 player accounts. He conducted most of his activity last year – he stopped working for Loto-Québec in May 2020 – though it appears he may have begun the scheme as early as 2017.
Targeted inactive accounts
Again, while not much has been revealed about what Raymond allegedly did, it sounds like he may have accessed player accounts – which he was presumably able to do in his position in the call center – in order to move money from them into his internal or external account.
“The various control mechanisms and verification systems in place at Loto-Québec have made it possible to identify certain irregularities,” Loto-Québec said, referring to Raymond’s account. “The police were contacted immediately.”
The customer accounts Raymond accessed had been dormant, so the account holders were unlikely to notice the unusual activity.
Police obtained a warrant to investigate Raymond on August 19, 2020. Raymond’s illicit activity stopped the very next day.
Loto-Québec said that “no customer was harmed” by Raymond’s actions, which may imply that the company made them whole.
Company has reviewed internal security
In December 2020, Quebec embarked upon an independent investigation to look four possible issues at Loto-Québec: loan sharking, loyalty programs, money laundering, and the independence and security of the company’s employees. One of the prompts for the investigation was a report that Casino de Montréal “rolled out the red carpet” for organized crime bosses before the pandemic.
The final report, issued in June, gave recommendations for areas of improvement, many of which the company said it has already taken to “improve its practices and address the complex challenges associated with organized crime groups, which are always refining their methods.”
we know that the fight against money laundering is an ongoing challenge”
“We know that the fight against money laundering is an ongoing challenge, and we’re pleased to see that many of the audit’s recommendations pertain to measures that are already in place or about to be rolled out,” said Loto-Québec president and CEO Jean-François Bergeron.
The report made it clear that no employees were suspected of anything untoward and that they all understood the proper policies and procedures. Loto-Québec was fully cooperative with the investigation.