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Ad Agency Employee Stole Winning Lottery Ticket

19 April 2002

GREAT FALLS, Montana – As reported by the Associated Press: "An employee of an agency the Montana Lottery uses for advertising faces a felony charge here after authorities say she tried to collect $50,000 on a stolen lottery ticket.

"Debra Kay Winkelman, 46, is charged with felony attempted theft, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. She also faces a misdemeanor theft charge.

"…Authorities say Winkelman, of Belt, worked for Banik Creative Group, the ad agency under contract with the Montana Lottery.

"Court records say Winkelman sent a batch of lottery tickets to a radio station as part of a promotion. The tickets were to be used as prizes in a trivia contest the lottery was sponsoring.

"Authorities say Winkelman asked the radio station to turn over any unused tickets to her, which she then played. One of the tickets was a $50,000 prize, authorities said.

"As a Banik employee, Winkelman was not eligible to collect lottery prizes. Authorities say she told her employer, Carl Banik, that her sister, Robin Winkelman, had won the prize through a radio giveaway while she was visiting Great Falls.

"Robin Winkelman initially told investigators the same thing, but later changed her story when lottery investigators became suspicious. Court records say Robin Winkelman admitted her sister had asked her to claim the prize…"

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