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A Massive Fraud that Involved Two Hot Dogs, A Lottery Ticket, and Bigfoot

The concluding day of Innovision 2020 began with a fantastic presentation from the energetic and personable Terry Rich, the dynamic entrepreneur and former head of the Iowa State Lottery who oversaw the largest lottery fraud investigation in US history, taking an $80 billion dollar gamble on a case that involved a lottery ticket, two hot dogs, and bigfoot.

Terry Rich
Terry Rich

The investigation unraveled like the script of a movie with more details than can listed here. If you want the whole story, read Rich’s book The $80 Million Gamble. The key lessons that came from this massive fraud are applicable to any loss prevention investigator:

When something does not seem right, speak up. And encourage others to speak up. This case started from a “this does not sound right” moment and became a massive multi-state investigation worth millions.

- Digital Partner -

Keep communication open and give your employees a way to report anything they feel does not feel right or that seems suspicious. A hotline, a number to text, even your cell phone, make sure that your store teams have a means to connect and are comfortable to do so. More than 40 percent of fraud cases according to speaker are found through tips, and more than 50 percent of organizations that have hotlines claim to have fewer cases of fraud.

With data security, internal fraud is as dangerous, if not more so, than external hacking. This is a case that had both. Screening who works for you, including your outside vendors, is critical. Make sure you know who has access to your systems and networks, what they have access to, what hardware and software they can install, and have the right checks and balances in place to make sure that no one can work in a silo and take advantage of an opportunity or vulnerability.

Finally, Rich suggested this exercise to try with your teams. To increase overall positivity, change the word “have” to “get.” Instead of saying “I have to go to this conference” or “I have to go to this meeting,” say “I get to go…” Rich’s organization tried the exercise, and it was not just a game changer but life changer.

Sparking innovation through great discussions led most of day two at Innovision 2020 with more small group and one-to-one meetings between retailers and solution providers with new ideas flowing like a river of creativity, and fantastic networking among this group of old and new friends.

Rick Goff
Rick Goff

The closing keynote speaker, Rick Goff, retired USAF and industry leader in operations with several organizations, including Six Flags theme parks, shared his insights on operational excellence with leadership advice to the group that also focused on wellness. “Wellness matters. Do not sacrifice the important things in life and keep a healthy work life balance,” said Goff. “As a good leader you need to not only motivate but regulate and recognize your personal limits and those of your team. When you see it in the people who work for you, do not just sit and watch them self-destruct. Say something. Speak up.”

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Vy Hoang, i3’s Chief Customer Officer and the Innovision master of ceremonies closed the day encouraging attendees to “Use your voice if you want change. Take the lead if you want change to happen.”

The annual Innovision gala dinner concluded the three-day event with dinner, music, dancing, and lots of fun. With a charity raffle supporting the Loss Prevention Benevolent Fund, this may have been a smaller conference in comparison to shows like NRF and RILA, but it was huge when it came to stepping up to support this cause. Raising more than $5,000 in a matter of hours, retailers and solution providers alike were incredibly generous with their support, opening their hearts and their wallets for this great charity. One hundred percent of all donations to the non-profit fund go to help the families of those in our industry who lose their life in the line of duty. Six loss prevention certification scholarships were also awarded to attendees thanks to the generosity of solution provider partners of the Loss Prevention Foundation.

Innovision 2020 gala dinner
Innovision 2020 gala dinner

The incredible evening gala was the perfect ending to a great couple of days of interaction and innovation in Phoenix. The Innovision planning committee has already met to develop next year’s agenda. Watch the LPM website calendar or keep an eye on the Innovision 2021 website for more details and to register for this event next year. You will not want to miss it.

In case you missed the recaps of the first two days of Innovision 2020, here are the links:

- Digital Partner -

Day One of Innovision 2020 Ends with a Bang—Literally

2020 Innovision Conference Kicks Off in Phoenix

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