Years later, retail owner charged in alleged $5.75M fraud
ron bull/torstar news service
When three lottery players discovered last year that someone had cashed their $5.75-million winning ticket, they hired a private detective to find out if the fourth member of their ticket-buying group had pocketed their millions behind their backs.
For years, Lorraine Teicht, Paul Carlisi, and Silvana and Aurora Pincivero — four friends who all worked for the Toronto Catholic District School Board — had pooled their money to buy weekly lottery tickets using the same numbers.
But in February 2006, the Pinciveros and Carlisi made a shocking discovery when they punched their regular numbers into an Ontario Lottery Corp. website and discovered their numbers in the winner’s column for 2004. The payout would have been $5.75 million.
They contacted the lottery corporation, which cited privacy laws in refusing to disclose the identity of any winner that far back. The trio grew suspicious and hired a private detective to see if their friend Teicht’s lifestyle had dramatically changed, but there was no evidence of a spending binge.
The three lottery partners confronted Teicht and she admitted buying the 6/49 ticket in Orillia but denied stealing the money. Teicht remembered taking the ticket to a retail outlet near the Toronto school where she works in the Dupont and Dufferin streets area.
Seven months later, in January 2005, Hafiz Malik showed up at the lottery headquarters with the winning ticket. The lottery partners learned that soon after collecting his winnings, Malik had closed down his store and purchased a $1 million mansion in Mississauga. He had also bought several luxury cars and apparently gave his son $1 million to buy a Tim Hortons franchise.
Earlier this year, the lottery corporation and the OPP investigated the convenience store owner who was eventually arrested and charged with two counts of fraud, one of theft and one of possession of stolen property. Yesterday, Malik, 60, appeared in court and was freed on $60,000 bail. The lottery corporation then cut a cheque and presented it to the four original winners.