Social Security Numbers of Deceased Used for Lottery Wins
New Jersey lottery officials have determined via an audit that almost 48 winners have collected prizes based on false social security numbers. The numbers used belonged to individuals who were deceased. The audit found that along with the false security number information, $890,000 in taxes and other debts were not paid by those who had won over the last fiscal year.

The report released by officials showed that 680 people who won a prize of $600 or more showed invalid IDs from the time period of July 2013 to the same month in 2014. When claiming winnings in New Jersey, players must list a social security or tax identification number. The state will then withhold taxes and federal taxes.

A player would use false information to avoid losing out on public assistance, taxes or child support payments. There are many ways a player can benefit and those who knew this took advantage by listing false information. The 680 that used the false information is a small number compared to the 48,000 claims that reached over the $600 prize mark.

At the same time, the audit determined that an additional $890,000 in taxes and other debts could have been collected but was not. According to state law, any prize money that is over $600 must go towards any unpaid taxes or debts. The state apparently missed out on quite a lot of cash that could have went towards such debts.

The auditor in this situation recommended that the state up the ante when it comes to checks that include prizes of $600 or more. Each winner should be validating their information to ensure that the system is not taken advantage of as well as the money owed for other items is paid in full. It will be interesting to see if any changes are made to try and control such happenings in the future.

- 2015-02-19

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