Quebec’s permanent anti-corruption unit has most recently discovered a security breach at Loto-Québec. Martin Raymond, a computer analyst from Terrebonne, has been involved in a fraudulent scheme as he has taken advantage of his position at an online gaming center and used his access to player accounts to embezzle money for several years.
The 37-year-old Mr. Raymond has now been formally charged with several criminal offenses at the Saint-Jérôme courthouse on Wednesday for his illegal operations. He has been accused of breach of trust by a public officer, fraud over CA$5,000 against the player and the Crown corporation, possession of personal information, and unauthorized use of a computer.
According to the presented evidence, Mr. Raymond has used his access to customer accounts and information to defraud money from both players and the Crown agency. There examples of such activities dating back to 2017, but most of the evidence is from 2020. The defendant was not present at court this week, as he was represented by his lawyer Christine Brosseau who refused to comment on the matter.
The information found out so far, states that the embezzlement of funds amounts to around CA$20,000. The investigation has determined that approximately 30 players’ gambling accounts have been breached. The inactivity of some users has allowed the employee to access them and transfer funds without attracting attention before being caught on the anti-corruption unit’s radar.
Court documents suggest that the investigation has been ongoing for almost a year now. Back on August 19, 2020, the police department got a warrant to investigate Mr. Raymond who left the Crown corporation in May 2020. The criminal activity then stopped on the very next day, which was a strong indicator that the defendant might be involved in the illegal activities.
Marisol Schnorr, head of public affairs at Loto-Québec briefly explained that no customers of the online platform have been harmed by the breach. According to him, thanks to the platform’s many control mechanisms and verification systems, the security of the site was quick to detect Mr. Raymond’s suspicious actions from his account. Then, the Crown immediately contacted the Police authorities.
Battling Illegal Casinos
Recently the Crown Corporation had a lot on its plate, as the agency has decided to battle illegal online casino ads that are promoted on several TV channels. The Crown has been leading a fierce battle against illegal casinos as they tend to attract a major portion of the company’s customers. Recently, the agency stated that the ads are confusing for players as they believe that they are a part of the officially regulated and legal offerings of the Crown, which is not the case.
Anti-Money Laundering Provisions
Another problem that Loto-Québec has been dealing with is how to stop potential money laundering activities at the province’s casinos in the future. After discussions with the police department, both entities decided to improve their communication in dirty money investigations. In addition to that, the Crown is now able to ban high-risk players as well as canceling patrons’ memberships at the casinos and erase their loyalty points.
Source: Larouche, Vincent “Accusations of fraud at Loto-Québec”, Toronto Star, July 8, 2021