A former Carbondale city council member faces theft and counterfeiting charges for stealing more than $163,000 in lottery tickets, Lackawanna County detectives said Monday.
Carbondale’s 37-year-old Joseph J. McDonald admitted to stealing scratch tickets from his former employer, Mayor Justin Taylor, and his wife, Ashley. Detective Lenny Castellani.
Theft amounted to $163,261. This included a retail price of $97,300 for 188 packs of tickets and a combined prize of $65,961, most of which was cashed in tobacconists.
McDonald’s is receiving treatment after telling investigators in July that he stole to feed his gambling addiction.
His attorney, William Peters, said: “He’s over it and I think he’s on the right track.
McDonald also told police he wanted his money back.
Peters said his clients have started working toward the return, but Taylor said they have yet to receive those funds.
District Attorney Mark Powell said, “No one is above the law.” McDonald’s is treated like any other person accused of theft. “
The alleged theft first came to light in December after the Taylors discovered a large loss in the business’s lottery account. McDonald’s, who worked there before the Taylors bought the store six years ago, said it was probably a mistake.
They cataloged packs of tickets shipped since the end of 2020 and found 188 packs that were “activated” but never put into circulation. Individual tickets are useless until the bar-coded pack they come in is validated at the store checkout.
Each of the suspect packs was activated when McDonald’s was working. The owner confronted him with the information, but he denied any wrongdoing and claimed he threw away the packing slip from the lottery shipment. Taylors fired him in January.
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Surveillance footage from the store showed him booting up and scratching a full pack of lottery tickets, police said.
Castellani also received documents from the Pennsylvania Lottery confirming that each of the suspected packs was activated and settled while McDonald’s was at work. Detectives also noted that the packs were activated and scanned within seconds of each other.
Invoices required for larger winnings must also be signed by the shopkeeper. Investigators showed Taylor a claim form provided by the state lottery and said his signature was forged.
In March, investigators obtained a search warrant for McDonald’s cell phone. His online activity in February included Internet searches for: “I owe someone $150,000.” “ADT CCTV camera recording retention period” is the same system installed in tobacco shops. His mobile phone also showed his involvement in online gambling and sports betting.
When confronted by police in July, McDonald admitted to stealing 188 packs of lottery tickets and forging Taylor’s signature.He struggled with a gambling addiction.
McDonald was released on $25,000 unsecured bail on Monday and immediately waived his right to a preliminary hearing and sent the case to the county general court.
McDonald was first elected to the City Council in 2019. He resigned immediately on his Aug. 5, according to an email sent to city clerk Michele his Bannon, in which he declared that his professional obligations had fulfilled his duties and that the meeting had been canceled. I write that it makes it difficult for me to attend.
https://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-nws-pa-councilman-lottery-tickets-20220914-gec6lhme35fdjj7kfm3dcnivbq-story.html#ed=rss_www.mcall.com/arcio/rss/category/news/pennsylvania/ Former Pennsylvania legislator charged with stealing $163,000 lottery ticket – The Morning Call