No Sign of Second Land Raffle

The Department of Criminal Investigation is questioning people connected with fake Senate candidate Annette Bosworth's raffle scam. Among the five people I know of visited by DCI agents in the past week is Bosworth's husband Chad Haber, the man in charge of Preventive Health Strategies, the non-profit that sold tickets for raffles that never happened.

The City of Sioux Falls helps us document three of those fake raffles.

According to Sioux Falls City Council minutes, on March 5, 2012...

A communication was received from Preventive Health Strategies stating their intent to sell raffle tickets from Monday, April 2, 2012, to Wednesday, August 1, 2012, for a 2012 Polaris Ranger Crew 500 Turbo UTV (valued at $10,999.00).  Tickets will be sold for $100.00 each.  The proceeds will be used for funding charitable activities within the strategic mission of PHS.

On July 3, 2012...

A communication was received from Preventive Health Strategies ("PHS") stating their intent to sell raffle tickets after August 1, 2012.  The cost of the tickets is $1,000.00 each and a minimum of 50 tickets must be sold prior to the award of any prize.  The winner will be awarded the option of a 2012 Harley-Davidson Softtail Deluxe (ARV $18,900.94) or $20,000.00 cash.  The prize drawing will coordinate with the Sturgis Motorcycle rally during August 6-12, 2012.  The proceeds will provide funding for charitable activities within the strategic mission of PHS.

And on July 10, 2012...

A communication was received from Preventive Health Strategies stating their intent to sell raffle tickets from July 11, 2012 until September 30, 2012 for a 2012 Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe (valued at $18,024.00) or $20,000 cash. There will be 25 prizes drawn between August 1, 2012 and September 30, 2012 (a minimum of 50 tickets must be sold prior to the awarding of any prize). Tickets will be sold for $1,000.00 each. The proceeds will be used for funding of charitable activities within the strategic mission of PHS.

PHS executive director Mathia Rall did her due diligence under state law to notify the City of Sioux Falls of these raffles. But PHS never awarded these three prizes, and as far as anyone knows, PHS never refunded that raffle money.

The City of Sioux Falls did receive notice on November 21, 2011, of PHS's planned raffle of a quarter section in Aurora County. This was the first and only raffle for which Preventive Health Strategies ever held a drawing. PHS advertised and sold tickets for a second land raffle, this one for an eighth-section in Moody County. However, the City of Sioux Falls never received notice of this raffle. State law requires such notice be filed with the governing body of jurisdiction in which a raffle drawing is to be held, but evidently PHS's Haber and Bosworth notified neither Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County, nor Moody County, the logical places where one might expect such a drawing to be held.

Not notifying the proper authorities of a raffle is small potatoes compared to stealing raffle ticket buyers' money.  But it's still potatoes, and DCI is right to be looking into mashing those potatoes.