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The Dominican Republic – Ex lottery head acquitted

By - 7 March 2023

Due to insufficient evidence, a court issued an acquittal in favour of the former administrator of the National Lottery, Luis Maisichell Dicent.

The magistrates also discharged defendant Edison Miguel Perdomo as the Public Ministry had not provided sufficient evidence that he had received a bribe nor had they proved the other accusations made against him.

When it came to Dicent the court announced that “the evidence has been highly insufficient” against the ex head of the board.

However the court sentenced William Rosario Ortiz to seven years in prison for money laundering and bribery, arguing that  that it had been proven that he had planned the fraud, together with Leónidas Medina Arvelo (now on the run). According to the ruling, Rosario Ortiz used a “friendship” that she said she had with the former lottery administrator to promise the other seven accused that they would be promoted within the lottery and would be paid for carrying out the fraud.

Eladio Batista was also sentenced to six years in prison for criminal association and money laundering. The magistrates partially accepted the plea deals of four of the six defendants for which they sentenced Valentina Rosario Cruz, together with Felipe Santiago Toribio, Carlos Manuel Beriguete and Jonathan Brea to five years in prison, three years to be served in prison and two years suspended. Two others charged in the case Miguel Mejía and Rafael Mesa, were sentenced to five year suspended sentences.

Dicent had been identified as the main person responsible for the network that committed the fraud, through a rigged lottery draw.  Prosecutors had wanted the ex the head of the lottery to serve twelve years in jail for his alleged role in the lottery scam.

In May 2021 the National Lottery announced that it had carried a seven month investigation into lottery related fraud initially involving a suspicious lottery draw that took place that month. Dicent himself was arrested after the Public Ministry accused him of planning and orchestrating the scam himself.  According to prosecutors one of the accused pretended to extract number 13 in order to hit the jackpot.

Prosecutors said that they would appeal the sentence. Deputy Attorney General Wilson Camacho, head of the Special Prosecutor’s Office for the Prosecution of Administrative Corruption (Pepca), highlighted the decision that convicted eight of the ten defendants for administrative corruption in the so-called “Operation 13”.

“Based on what we have seen today, we can anticipate that the Public Ministry will partially appeal this decision in relation to the two people who have been discharged, due to alleged insufficient evidence, which is a sample of what we have said in other occasions, that in the Dominican Republic in matters of corruption it is necessary to over prove the case,” he said.

Camacho said that the fraud would not have been possible without Dicent’s aid.  

“In our opinion it was not possible to carry out a fraud in the National Lottery of this nature without the participation of Dicent, so in relation to its ruling we will be appealing from when we are notified of the full sentence,” he said. The court’s full ruling will be issued next month.

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