Former Mississippi Lottery official sentenced for embezzling $200,000

Prison time for embezzlement charges.

Former Mississippi Lottery official sentenced for embezzling $200,000
Hope Bishop, the former Vice President of Human Resources at the private Mississippi Lottery Corporation. Photograph credit to the State Auditor's Office.

Prison time for a former Mississippi Lottery Corporation executive who embezzled almost $200,000 in 2023.

Former official pleads guilty

According to State Auditor Shad White, a former executive with the Mississippi Lottery Corporation, she was sentenced this week after she gave herself unauthorized raises, leading to her pleading guilty to embezzlement charges.

In November 2023, Hope Bishop, the former Vice President of Human Resources at the private Mississippi Lottery Corporation, was arrested. Her arrest came after staff discovered the embezzlement when they were working to improve lottery operations. Officials said it was reported to the state auditor's office once they discovered it.

When Bishop was arrested, she was served with a demand for repayment of $187,738.85.

The sentencing

On June 6, 2024, Bishop pleaded guilty to embezzlement.

On Monday, June 10, Bishop was sentenced to 20 years in state prison. With that sentence, 15 years were suspended and five are to be served on house arrest, then followed by five years of supervised probation. She was also ordered to pay fines, fees, and investigative costs.

The integrity of lottery games is not affected

While the embezzlement was taking place, the state auditor's office said it “did not affect the integrity of the lottery games.” How so? Authorities said Bishop had “no access to the gaming side” of the Lottery Corporation's operations, which means her actions didn't affect any lottery games.

Officials also said that an insurance policy was in place that covered Bishop's employment at the Mississippi Lottery Corporation.

New prevention techniques installed

Since the discovery of Bishop's actions, Mississippi Lottery officials said they have implemented additional controls to prevent future embezzlement from taking place.

In a statement, White said:

I'm thankful for the efforts of the investigators, prosecutors, and the lottery corporation for the joint work required to bring this case to a close.

Other recent lottery scandals

Bishop isn't the only lottery scandal making news recently. In Georgia, an inspector with the Georgia Lottery Corporation was allegedly accepting payments from stores in exchange for him giving them a passing inspection for the state lottery.

Lottery officials in Georgia said the inspector, Michael Jerome Kessler Sr., reportedly convinced at least three lottery retailers to each pay him $2,000 in exchange for a passing grade on their inspection. Kessler has since been fired, and he was arrested on May 13 and charged with three counts of bribery.

Another scandal took place in Florida when a couple tried to return a “winning” $50 scratch-off ticket from the Florida Lottery. The couple, Kira Enders and Dakota Jones claimed the ticket was a $1 million winner. However, Florida Lottery officials claim she reportedly taped together two tickets to make it look like she had a winner.

A week after bringing the ticket in to claim, Enders was called into the Florida Lottery office. After she and Jones spoke with investigators, they were arrested and are facing several charges, including larceny/grand theft of more than $100,000 and passing a forged/altered state lottery ticket with an intent to defraud.

Enjoy playing the lottery, and please remember to play responsibly.


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