An Ocean County man has admitted to operating an illegal lottery and failing to pay over $65,000 in federal taxes on his earnings from the scheme.

Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig says 54-year-old Edward O’Neill of Beachwood pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of managing an illegal gambling business and one count of subscribing to a false tax return.

Honig's office says,

Between 2014 and 2019, O’Neill managed an illegal lottery in Hudson County that was based on the New Jersey Lottery Commission’s Pick Six. Participants in the illegal lottery paid a $20 entry fee and selected six numbers between 1 and 49. The first participant in the illegal lottery to have all six of their numbers selected in the official Pick Six drawing won a cash prize. For each drawing of the illegal lottery, O’Neill collected entry fees and participants’ numbers and entered the numbers into ledgers, which included identifying information for each participant and the numbers each participant had selected. O’Neill monitored the numbers selected in the official Pick Six and, when there was a winner of the illegal lottery, caused the winning participant to be paid in cash.

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Authorities say as many as 8,000 people participated in the scheme and prizes sometimes exceeded $100,000. In exchange for operating and managing the illegal lottery, O’Neill kept for himself 10 percent of the winnings from each drawing.

O’Neill also admitted that he failed to account for approximately $250,000 in cash winnings from the illegal lottery on tax returns he filed with the IRS between 2014 and 2018.

The gambling charge to which O’Neill pleaded guilty to carries a up to five years in prison and he could get up to three years in jail for filing false federal income tax returns. Both charges carry a potential fine of $250,000.

Sentencing is scheduled for August 25th.

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