6 Arrests Made in Connection With Lottery Manipulation

Police have arrested six local lottery merchants, accusing them of cheating the 5 Card Cash game.

The Department of Consumer Protection launched an investigation late last year amid suspicion that some retailers intentionally manipulated the reporting mechanism on the lottery terminals for their own personal gain.

In an affidavit, the DCP accuses Vikas Patel of rigging the lottery terminal at Hartford Liquor in Windsor. The affidavit said he, “Created a higher percentage of winning versus non-winning 5 Card Cash tickets.”

Officials estimate Hartford Liquor got, “$36,487 more than it would have based on the same sales and no manipulation.”

That led investigators to arrest Pranav Patel of Bloomfield under similar allegations. Patel owns Canton’s Center Spirit Shoppe.

Vikas Patel initially denied knowing Pranav as a friend or a relative, but investigators later found the two listed on a database as brothers. Vikas still denies any relation, but later corrected himself, saying they go to the same temple.

Vikas also denies cheating the lottery terminal.

Police have also arrested Prakunj Patel of Wallingford, Sedat Kurutan of Naugatuck, Rahul Gandhi of Wallingford and Moinuddin Saiyed of Norwalk.

All six face larceny and computer crime and rigging charges. They each posted bond and are due back in court within the next month.

Neither CT Lottery nor the DCP wanted to comment until they complete the investigation.

NBC Connecticut also reached out to several of the suspects’ attorneys. The attorney represending both Prakunj Paten and Gandhi say his clients are both presumed innocent as they wait for their court assignment.

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