On Wednesday, November 4, Pennsylvania state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale announced that his office would be launching a performance audit on the state’s Revenue Department and the Pennsylvania Lottery. According to DePasquale, the performance audit will be laying some special emphasis on the study of the state-run lottery’s measures when it comes to protecting itself against fraud.
“Seniors, lottery players and the general public deserve to know if every dollar of those prizes was claimed in accordance with the law,” he said.
The decision by the office of the Auditor General to carry out the audit comes amidst some rather aggressive tracking of high-volume lottery prize winners. As it turns out, some of them were not genuine at all. Investigations from as early as 2017 found that some of the wins had some relations with illegal activity. To make it even worse, there were several instances where there was either non-existent or negligible oversight of the aforementioned irregularities.
In Pennsylvania, a small number of high-frequency winners have been discovered in recent times and these could be just the tip of the iceberg. The Pennsylvania Lottery has grown tremendously over the past two years and there is a huge possibility that illegal activities may have also grown with.
Protecting Older Adults
As mentioned earlier, the audit will be looking into the effectiveness of the Revenue Department’s anti-fraud policies, regulations, and procedures. The Auditor General stated that his main aim is “to protect older adults who rely on lottery-funded benefit programs.”
The Pennsylvania Lottery has previously assured the public that it is doing everything possible to catch fraudsters. In fact, after the Auditor General’s announcement, representatives from the state-run lottery said that they would work with Eugene DePasquale. This way, there will be enough information for them to carry out an effective audit. After that, they will root out any irregularities.
Commenting on the development, Ewa Dworakowski who is the Press Secretary for the Pennsylvania Lottery said that the lottery and the Revenue Department already have some safeguard in place to ensure everything works as expected. However, they are open to receiving any assistance.
Fraud and other financial irregularities aside, the Auditor General also intends to look into a number of other issues. One of the most notable ones being sexual harassment policies. This is mostly with regard to complaints raised at the Department of Revenue. The audit intends to weigh in on the issue by offering reviews of sexual harassment policies and procedures at the department.