BOSTON (WWLP) – The owner of a Dorchester convenience store pleaded guilty in connection with bribing a Lottery official to persuade him to pay more than $5,600 in prize money on five winning tickets the Lottery had refused to pay, believing the tickets were illegally submitted, Attorney General Maura Healey announced on September 8.

Tuan Tquan, a.k.a. Tommy Tran, 59, who owns Smoke Shop and More in Dorchester, pleaded guilty in Dorchester District Court to the charge of Illegal Gratuity to a Public Employee. Judge Samir Zaganjori sentenced Tquan to probation for a period of two years and was ordered to stay away from the involved lottery official and to not engage with gaming or lottery activity without permission. The $500 he used to pay the bribe was forfeited.

On Nov. 23, 2020, Tquan’s son showed five winning Lottery tickets totaling $5,601 to the Lottery and signed five claim forms, confirming that he was the true recipient of the payment and was not claiming the prize to assist another person to avoid taxes. After finding inconsistences in the son’s statements to Lottery officials about where he purchased the winning tickets, the Lottery opened an administrative review and withheld the payment for the winning tickets.

During the process, Tquan told the Lottery officials that he gave the tickets to his son as a wedding present, and the Lottery ultimately determined that Tquan’s son was not the proper claimant for the winnings because he was not the purchaser of the tickets, and denied the claim and appealed the Lottery’s denial.

When the appeal was pending, Tquan called the Lottery official several times saying that they were his tickets and that he did not want to wait for the money. On April 26, Tquan offered to give the official $500 if he would pay his son’s claim.

The Lottery official reported his actions to the Massachusetts State Police and the Attorney General’s Office, who scheduled a meeting between Tquan and the Lottery official on May 25. During the meeting, Tquan was observed handing the Lottery official the $500 and walking away with the phony prize money he received. He was then arrested by State Police.

On the day of his plea, Tquan was put on trial on additional charges that related to the seizure of six illegal gaming machines from his convenience store on June 30. The machines were discovered when Lottery officials visited Tquan’s store to serve him a notice of his suspension following his arrest, and the machines were later seized.

Tquan pleaded not guilty to Keeping a Common Gaming House and Unlawful Operation of Gaming Devices. The gaming case is pending, and he is due back in court on October 26 for a pretrial hearing.