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Six charged for 'hacking' lottery terminals to spew only winning tickets

Winner winner, prison dinner?

Six people have been charged with exploiting a bug in lottery terminals to print off winning tickets on demand.

Connecticut prosecutors say the group conspired to manipulate automated ticket dispensers to run off "5 Card Cash" tickets that granted on-the-spot payouts in the US state.

According to the Hartford Courant, a group of shop owners and employees setup the machines to process a flood of tickets at once, which caused a temporary display freeze. This allowed operators to see which of the tickets about to be dispensed would be winning ones, cancel the duff ones, and print the good ones, it's alleged.

The winning tickets would be cashed and billed to the state lottery.

"While those reports were being processed, the operator could enter sales for 5 Card Cash tickets," the newspaper reports. "Before the tickets would print, however, the operator could see on a screen if the tickets were instant winners."

The Courant says that the lottery commission wised up to the scheme back in November when it heard that people were winning the 5 Card Cash game at a higher-than-expected rate. The game was temporarily halted. The paper notes that more arrests are expected in the case.

The charges filed against two members of the group, Pranav Patel and Vikas Patel, include first-degree felony counts of computer crime and larceny as well as felony rigging charges. Both the Patels have been bailed on $25,000 bonds each and are due in court on Monday.

The state defines class B computer crimes as those with damages exceeding $10,000. ®

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