Uh oh. The National Audit Office announced yesterday that 16.9 billion yuan in lottery funds from the state lottery program had been misused across 18 provinces between 2012 and 2014, appropriated mainly through embezzlement as well as the buying and building of offices and hotels.
The misappropriated funds accounted for 25.7 percent of the 65.8 billion yuan collected in total across the 18 provinces.
According to the Global Times:
A total of 854 public welfare programs supported by lottery funds were audited. The illegal sale of lottery tickets via the Internet was pervasive in the 18 regions.
More than 4.2 billion yuan was embezzled through fake projects, illegal foreign investments or business operations, and 9 billion yuan was used for the illegitimate purchase of equipment and services, or was spent on shady off-the-book purposes.
More than 290 organizations were found to have misused 3.6 billion yuan through the construction of office buildings, distributing allowances to employees, buying luxury government vehicles and organizing unnecessary overseas trips.
While gambling remains illegal in China (with the exception of Macau), lottery tickets can be sold through authorized stations across the country. The two legal state-run lotteries include China Sports Lottery and China Welfare Lottery.
China’s Welfare Lottery Center supports a number of causes, and proceeds from ticket sales are donated towards nursing homes, disaster reliefs and more, while helping to bolster the country’s social security fund.
Authorities managed to recover 14.51 billion yuan of the misused money by May 31.
By Maggie Wong
[Image credit: @thereboot]