Convicted Edmonton fraudster is big lottery loser

Convicted Edmonton fraudster is big lottery loser

For 128 days in 2013, it was like Hassan Karim Choudhry kept winning the lottery.

Between May 2013 and Sept. 2013, the operator of two Mac's convenience stores in Edmonton lined his own pockets by paying out non-existent lottery tickets to himself.

But he got caught.

In Edmonton provincial court on Tuesday, Choudhry pleaded guilty to fraud over five thousand dollars, admitting to essentially stealing $257,779 from Mac's. He was sentenced to one year in jail and ordered by provincial court judge Larry Anderson to make full restitution to Mac's.

Crown prosecutor Jim Stewart explained to the court that Choudhry created false lottery win payouts so he could reduce the amount of money he had to deposit from his stores at the end of the day. He pocketed the difference for himself.

In October 2013, the fraud was discovered.

"It wasn't until there was a reconciliation between the Western Canada Lottery Corporation and Mac's corporate, that it was discovered that Mr. Choudhry had been wildly over-reporting the amount of money that he was paying out of his till to lottery winners," Stewart explained outside court.

Mac's fired Choudhry and reported the fraud to police, but it took Economic Crimes investigators nearly four years to charge him.

Despite Tuesday's guilty plea, Choudhry resisted the idea of paying back Mac's. Through his lawyer, he told the court he was bankrupt and insisted Mac's still owed him money.

Judge Anderson decided a restitution order was appropriate, which means Mac's is now able to seize Choudhry's assets to recover its losses.

Choudhry did not express any remorse in court.

"He was asked if he had anything to say before he was sentenced and he chose not to comment," Stewart said.