Altan cited with lottery ticket theft

An Alta woman is facing felony charges after she allegedly stole and redeemed lottery tickets.

Toni Hammer, 49, of Alta is facing seven counts of lottery fraud and one count of tampering with records. Hammer is a former Iowa Lottery employee. She was a district sales representative.

She allegedly stole seven lottery tickets from area businesses in early January.

On Jan. 7 Hammer allegedly stole a lottery ticket from Cricket’s Lounge, which she later redeemed for $10.

The following day, she allegedly stole four lottery tickets from Hy-Vee Drugstore and redeemed them later for $90.

The final lottery tickets she allegedly stole were from Duncombe Gas and Grocery on Jan. 9 that were redeemed for $5.

The other ticket was located in the defendant’s work vehicle, scratched but not cashed.

Hammer allegedly tampered with records to try to hide the thefts.

“The defendant used her authority and access abilities to obtain or keep lottery tickets without paying for the items,” the criminal complaint stated. “The defendant failed to complete returns and falsified electronic records in an attempt to conceal her actions and keep the tickets for herself.”

The alleged thefts were discovered when the Iowa Lottery noticed a discrepancy in its records, according to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

After conducting an internal investigation, Iowa Lottery officials contacted the DCI, which led to Hammer’s arrest.

Hammer made her initial appearance in Webster County Magistrate Court Friday morning. Magistrate Steve Kersten allowed Hammer to be released from jail with supervision to the Department of Corrections.

Her case was sent to Webster County District Court, where her arraignment will be scheduled at a later time.