“A complete misappropriation of charity lotteries”: near Nîmes, a family had amassed an incredible jackpot

“A complete misappropriation of charity lotteries”: near Nîmes, a family had amassed an incredible jackpot

Several draws per week, broadcast live on the internet. Midi Libre Archives

A couple in their seventies and their children had set up a very profitable lotto activity on the internet since 2018, supposed to raise funds for the benefit of the associations they approached or which solicited them. Problem: for the Nîmes public prosecutor's office as for the judicial police, this very profitable activity, organized with professional means, was totally illegal.

"Our analysis is very clear: there is no doubt that their activity was illegal".& nbsp;Director in Paris of the central racing and games service of the judicial police, Commissioner General Stéphane Piallat does not hide his satisfaction this Thursday, June 20, after the raid launched this week in the Gard, which led to the placement in police custody of a Gard family, suspected of having set up a very profitable charity lottery activity on the internet.

The largest deal in France

"This is the largest illegal lottery case carried out in France to date"welcomed in a press release Cécile Gensac, the public prosecutor of Nîmes, who opened in October 2023 a preliminary investigation into this family business having developed increasing activity since 2018 in online, booming since Covid.

The company Maya Loto employed between 20 and 40 employees and had three studios "with professional equipment", in Caissargues, near Nîmes, in Perthuis (Vaucluse) and in Istres (Bouches-du-Rhône), to broadcast live the draws which followed one another at an intense pace.< /p>

1400 lottos since 2021 for 180 associations

"Massive exploitation across the entire national territory", specifies the Nîmes prosecutor."We have already identified 1,400 lottos between 2021 and 2023", or nearly 10 per week, " with between 150 and 300 participants" per draw adds Commissioner Piallat. "At least 180 associations, local or national, participated. It’s still huge, we’re neither in crafts nor in volunteering."

French law prohibits gambling, except for those which are specifically regulated. We can organize charity lotteries, to raise funds for an association or a good cause, with nice gifts for the winners, but respecting strict rules.

11 million euros in stakes won since 2021

"For charity lotteries, the principle is that the funds raised must go almost exclusively to the associations, and not to the organizers, which was not at all the case here" specifies the police officer. "The associations received at best 10 % of the bets." Another contentious point: while the purchase price of a box is limited to 20 euros, online lottos made it possible to bet 5 to 100 €.

"It’is a complete diversion of charitable activity, and we are not in’amateurism’ quot; underlines the commissioner. And the profits are impressive : "The revenue from these illicit lots exceeded 11 million euros between 2021 and  2023."

Around ten cars including a beautiful Jaguar

Tuesday morning, the couple in their seventies and their two children, at the head of this business were placed in police custody, as well as the manager of one of the companies of their holding company. They emerged free on Thursday, and should be sent directly to the criminal court. With some financial difficulties in perspective: more than 1.6 million euros; was seized from professional and personal bank accounts, as well as around ten cars, including "a beautiful Jaguar"&nbsp ;belonging to them. They also risk heavy tax adjustments.

The Maya Loto site has since been inactive, apart from this message: "Following a problem beyond our control, we inform you that lotteries are canceled until further notice. All people who ordered will be refunded as soon as possible"

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