Saturday, May 25, 2013
Eye Team Investigates Illegal Gaming Activities
A former state investigator is now facing multiple felony charges for illegal gaming at his Lucky Times Lotto and Pull Tab business.
ANCHORAGE—He went from a state investigator with the Alaska Department of Revenue to the operator of a half-million dollar lottery, and now, an accused felon. The state is adding to the charges against Abraham Spicola, the owner of Lucky Times Lotto and Pull Tabs.
Non-profits trusted him to raise money for their cause, but the state says Spicola is a criminal who demanded bribes, defrauded the state and illegally pocketed money from his business.
The cracks started showing last year, when Lucky Times pushed back the drawing date for its second half-million dollar drawing multiple times.
In an interview, Spicola told the Eye Team at the time all he wanted to do was raise money for Standing Together Against Rape, or STAR.
“We didn’t sell enough tickets to meet the jackpot pay out, plus we also want to raise $50,000 for star this year so they could hire one sexual abuse educator,” Spicola said in March 2010.
But the state says Spicola was actually breaking multiple laws, including demanding bribes from the non-profits for which he was raising money, lying on state gaming records and defrauding the state out of unemployment benefits.
On Fri., Aug. 26, a grand jury returned additional charges, including theft, schemes to defraud, falsifying business records and illegally taking money from his business.
In all, Spicola is facing 13 criminal charges, including 12 felonies and five non-criminal violations.
Spicola is no stranger to Alaska gaming laws. In fact, he worked for the state department in charge of monitoring and investigating the gaming industry for three years.
Now, the investigation into his gaming business continues. The only evidence left of Lucky Times Lotto is an empty storefront on Spenard and mounting charges against its owner.
Spicola will be arraigned on the new charges on Tues., Aug. 30. Neither his public defender nor state prosecutors returned calls for comment.