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Seven arraigned in alleged Lottery prize scheme

The lottery ticket display behind the counter at College Convenience on Huntington Avenue. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The lottery ticket display behind the counter at College Convenience on Huntington Avenue. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
This article is more than 1 year old.

Seven people and three businesses indicted last fall in connection to a scheme to fraudulently claim lottery prizes, launder the winnings and help others avoid debts were arraigned Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court.

A statewide grand jury returned indictments in October for three Lottery retailers and 12 people, including store owners, employees and ticket-cashers, who Attorney General Maura Healey's office alleged to have been involved from April 2020 through May 2021 in a "ten-percenting" scheme in which they claimed the prizes associated with winning Lottery tickets instead of the true winners in exchange for 10 to 20 percent of the winnings.

Not guilty pleas were entered Tuesday for Frank Obey and Kenneth Grossman, who faced charges of conspiracy to evade taxes, attempting to impede/obstruct administration of Massachusetts tax laws, and money laundering. Obey was also arraigned for perjury Friday in Essex Superior Court because his conduct that led to that charge took place in Essex County, Healey's office said.

Paritosh Patel, John Heller, Karl Voelker and Nelson Tejada were arraigned Tuesday on charges of conspiracy to evade taxes, as were the three businesses indicted in October — Underground Express on Winter Place in Boston, Richdale on Lowell Road in North Reading, and NT Lucky Variety on Arlington Street in Chelsea. Peter Marano, a legitimate Lottery winner, was arraigned on a charge of tax evasion in connection to having someone else claim his prize. Each defendant pleaded not guilty or had a not guilty plea entered on their behalf.

The attorney general's office said Tuesday afternoon that each defendant arraigned Tuesday was released on their own recognizance and is expected back in court for a Feb. 18 pretrial hearing.

The remaining defendants — William McNamara, MDGolam Talukder-Manik, Muhammad Khan, Adam Derebala and Ghanshyam Patel — are due to be arraigned April 1 at 9 a.m. in Suffolk Superior Court, Healey's office said.

Ten-percenting is a practice that the Lottery and law enforcement officials have been aware of and trying to address for decades. In some cases, the true winner might be attempting to evade past-due child support payments, taxes or other debts which the Lottery is legally obligated to help collect, officials have said, or the claims may be part of a money laundering scheme.



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