Georgia Lottery inspector allegedly took bribes to pass inspections

The inspector is no longer employed by Georgia Lottery.

Georgia Lottery inspector allegedly took bribes to pass inspections
Michael Jerome Kessler's mugshot. Photograph credit to the Henry County Office of the Sheriff.

A new lottery scandal has been discovered in Georgia surrounding an inspector for the Georgia Lottery Corporation.

Taking bribes to pass inspections

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, an inspector with the Georgia Lottery Corporation was accepting payments from stores in exchange for passing their state lottery inspections.

The GBI said Michael Jerome Kessler Sr. reportedly convinced at least three lottery retailers with coin-operated machines regulated by the Lottery Corporation to pay him in exchange for a passing grade on their inspection.

According to arrest documents obtained by WSB-TV, Kessler was charged with bribery after he allegedly accepted three $2,000 payments from the stores. The arrest documents reference a different location for each of the three payments.

‘Integrity is the bedrock of the Lottery’

A spokesperson for the Georgia Lottery Corporation said Kessler was employed as a compliance inspector. He is now accused of accepting bribes in Henry County.

State Senator Emanuel Jones, who is part of the Georgia Lottery Commission and lives in Henry County, told WSB-TV:

Integrity is the bedrock of the Lottery and its mission, by the way. Essentially, people are making bets. They're gambling when they’re using machines across the state or when they are betting on any other activities that we allow in Georgia, and we don't want a criminal element to seep into that.

Speaking of integrity, the spokesperson added:

Employees are held to the highest standard to ensure that we achieve our important mission of maximizing revenues for HOPE and Pre-K.

Fired and arrested

Officials said that as soon as the GBI reported that their information against Kessler was credible, he was fired.

Authorities said they searched the Rockdale County home of Kessler on Monday, May 13. He was booked into the Henry County Jail during the evening of Wednesday, May 15.

State Sen. Jones said:

I don't believe anyone who’s been accused of accepting bribes should be affiliated in any way with our lottery in our great state.

Another recent lottery scandal

This isn't the only recent lottery scandal to hit the news. Recently, a couple in Florida tried to return a “winning” $50 scratch-off ticket from the Florida Lottery. While 36-year-old Kira Enders claimed the ticket was a winner, Lottery officials said the ticket was clearly altered.

What did Enders do? She reportedly taped together two tickets to make it look like she had a $1 million winner.

Enders brought the “winning ticket” to a Florida Lottery office in Pensacola to collect her prize. However, Lottery officials immediately said the ticket was a “non-winner.”

About a week later, she called the office to check on the status of the ticket. A special agent received the call and asked Enders to come into the Florida Lottery office. After questioning Enders and 32-year-old Dakota Jones, who drove her to the office, they were arrested and 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 Georgia Lottery, and please remember to play responsibly.


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