I have been following for a while the story of World Square Newsagency.
What happened is that two winners of the lottery came into the newsagency. There they were served by a trusted employee of the newsagency for two years who filled out for them a claim form. Later he substituted their claim form for one of his own and sent this form with their winning ticket, to NSW Lotteries. 14 days later he was paid the $574,000 then he disappeared, possibly to Indonesia.
At this point, it is interesting to point out how the newsagent Michael Pavellis described his trusted employee: "He was a religious person; he went to church twice a week ….I know it sounds strange after what has happened, but he was an active member of the church band. He was a well-liked person".
Anyway a week later the rightful winners contact NSW Lotteries inquiring about their prize. After a legal battle, the NSW Lotteries paid the prize money again, this time to them.
Now the part that is interesting to us is that NSW Lotteries started proceedings against the newsagency saying it was negligent. Consequently, the owners of the newsagency are liable for the loss and should repay it. The lawyers have been debating in court just who is responsible for employee theft. Or whether what it does sound to me was the NSW Lottery systems that are at fault. Now we are waiting for a decision.
Like most of us, these newsagents do not have $500,000 plus court costs spare, so this newsagent has said he may be forced to sell his business and home if he losses and may go bankrupt.
Note I bet even if the newsagency wins the legal fees will be a real ouch.
Here is the newspaper report on the case.
I really feel for his problem. From my own experience with newsagencies, I think that this newsagent, Michael Pavellis, who I am sure I have met and is a good client of ours was just unlucky as what happened to him could have happened to many newsagents.