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California Lottery cops questioned a $2 million jackpot. Then they lost their jobs.

California State Lottery headquarters in Sacramento, Calif. PHOTO: HydroTechUSA.com

By Adam Ashton | 14 October 2018

THE MERCURY NEWS — The California State Lottery has paid more than $500,000 to settle lawsuits filed by two former investigators who claimed they were fired for calling attention to jackpots they believed the lottery improperly awarded to recipients who could not prove they were winners.

The two ousted lottery cops had flagged a $2 million jackpot in 2015 and a $750,000 prize in 2016 that they argued should not have been paid.

“It was a travesty the way they were both handled,” said Steve Tacchini, a retired San Francisco police captain and former lottery deputy director. A third and related lawsuit from another former investigator is still in play.

The ongoing costs to taxpayers stem from discipline the lottery handed down two years ago when a group of investigators grew frustrated by what they considered to be preventable fraud among lottery retailers as well as questionable payouts.

Between Tacchini and three subordinates, the former employees attempted to raise concerns about the payouts with the attorney general, state auditor and a reporter at the CBS station in Los Angeles. […]

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