06/05/2012 07:20 EDT | Updated 08/05/2012 05:12 EDT

3 B.C. Lotto Vendors Could Face Fraud Charges

Three B.C. lottery ticket vendors could lose their registration and face criminal charges for theft and fraud, according to government briefing notes prepared for the provincial Solicitor General Shirley Bond in January.

According to documents posted by the government online, the possible charges are the result of a provincewide investigation into the theft of winning lottery tickets by ticket retailer by the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch.

The investigation, which was conducted between September and December 2011 found enough evidence to recommend theft and fraud charges in three cases, according one note prepared for the minister dated Jan. 17.

One other note dated Jan. 19 said one retailer had lost its licence as the result of the provincewide investigation.

The notes do not name the retailers in question or say if charges have been approved by Crown prosecutors.

They advise the minister not to comment on the investigation if asked, while the investigation is underway.

A 2007 report by B.C.'s ombudsman Kim Carter concluded the B.C. Lottery Corporation did not have adequate procedures to ensure correct prize amounts are paid out to the rightful owners of winning tickets.

A 2009 CBC News investigation found that that lottery clerks in Manitoba were claiming prizes at a disproportionately high rate.

In 2010 three members of an Ontario family which sold lottery tickets were charged with the theft of a $12 million lottery prize for a Super 7 ticket in 2003.