Fort Dodge man charged with lottery fraud, money laundering, extortion

Local News
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A Fort Dodge man has been charged with several felonies after police say he attempted to defraud the Iowa Lottery.

Investigators with the Iowa Lottery contacted the Fort Dodge Police Department in October 2018 in regards to suspicious activity related to a winning scratch ticket in the Fort Dodge area.

Detectives with the Fort Dodge Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division conducted an investigation into the activity. During the course of that investigation, multiple search warrants were conducted at various locations in Fort Dodge and numerous items were seized, including U.S. currency, vehicles and electronic devices.  Multiple individuals identified were allegedly involved in a conspiracy to defraud the Iowa Lottery by avoiding paying debts owed to various agencies.

39-year-old Nicholas Hanson of Fort Dodge has been charged with four counts of Money Laundering, three counts of Conspiracy to Commit Lottery Fraud, one count of Extortion and one count of Possession of Marijuana.

Hanson is accused of enlisting others between August and October 2018 to develop “schemes or methods in which they would aid one another in defrauding the Iowa Lottery,” according to criminal complaints. 

“The defendant knew that he was in debt to numerous entities including but not limited to Child Support Recovery, the State of Iowa in back taxes, college student loan debt, and numerous debt collection agencies and therefor needed the assistance of S.H. to claim a winning Lottery ticket the defendant had purchased in order to circumvent paying the defendants back debts,” one complaint reads. 

Hanson proceeded to deposit $1,000 into his personal bank account, buy a 65″ television and book a trip to Las Vegas using the defrauded money, according to court documents.

Hanson turned himself in Wednesday morning and made an initial appearance in Webster County Magistrate Court. Hanson is currently being held in the Webster County Jail.

The investigation is ongoing and further charges are possible.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Fort Dodge Police Department.  

The Fort Dodge Police Department was assisted by the Iowa Lottery and the Webster County Attorney’s Office.

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