An 80-year-old Lynn man was arrested Friday in connection with an alleged multimillion-dollar lottery ticket scam, federal prosecutors said.
Clarance Jones was charged with conspiring to commit tax fraud and filing false tax returns, according to a statement from the US attorney’s office for Massachusetts. Jones was charged in connection with a “ten-percenting” scheme, according to the attorney’s office.
Authorities alleged Jones bought millions of dollars’ worth of winning Massachusetts lottery tickets at a discount in order to help the ticket holders circumvent taxes on the prize money.
He was released Friday following an initial appearance in federal court in Boston. If convicted, Jones could face a maximum of five years behind bars, three years of supervised release, and a fine, according to the attorney’s office.
Between Jan. 1, 2013, and May 14, 2014, Jones was the state’s most prolific lottery winner, according to a 2014 Globe report. During that time frame, Jones brought in nearly 1,750 tickets bought at 590 lottery agents and cashed tickets on 95 different days.
Two store owners have already pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme, federal prosecutors said.
George Kinslieh, 68, pleaded guilty to a count of filing false tax returns earlier this month. Bhavna Patel, 44, also pleaded guilty earlier this month to conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service.
Both are scheduled to be sentenced in February 2019.
According to court documents, from at least 2013 to 2015, the two store owners and others allegedly bought winning lottery tickets from ticket holders for cash, at a discount to the value of the tickets, which allowed the holders to avoid reporting the winnings on their tax returns. Federal authorities refer to such a scam as “ten-percenting.”
Kinslieh and Patel would then give the winning tickets to Jones, who presented the tickets to the Massachusetts Lottery Commission as his own, federal authorities said. Jones would collect the full winnings and report the winnings on his tax returns, but offset the winnings with purported gambling losses, according to the attorney’s office.
Jones, federal prosecutors said, and the two store owners then shared the excess winnings.