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Store worker pleads guilty to lottery ticket theft

WILLMAR — A 59-year-old Svea woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to a felony charge of state lottery fraud for stealing more than $29,000 in lottery tickets from her employer.

As part of Janice Marie Wadsworth’s plea agreement reached in Kandiyohi County District Court, another felony theft charge will be dismissed and she will receive a stay of imposition on her sentence. Under the stay, the felony conviction will be reduced to a misdemeanor if she complies with the conditions of her sentence.

Sentencing is set for Oct. 2.

The charges were filed after the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office began investigating the theft of lottery tickets at Eagle Lake Country Store in July 2012. Store officials told investigators they had instituted a tracking system after another recent case of lottery ticket theft at the store. An audit of the tracking system showed inconsistencies between ticket sales and dollars on weekdays, which was when Wadsworth worked.

Other also employees reported seeing the high-dollar lottery scratch-off tickets, worth $10, $20 or $30, in the trash can after Wadsworth's shifts.

In September 2012, store officials presented investigators with a final summary from March to August, showing that $29,424.50 in lottery tickets had been stolen.

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