Last updated: February 16. 2013 5:34AM - 171 Views

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PITTSBURGH ‚?? A man evaded roughly $132,000 in income taxes in 2009 and 2010 by having friends cash in his winning lottery tickets, the only source of income mentioned in a federal grand jury indictment alleging he earned about $481,000 in those years, authorities say.
The two-count indictment against Sherman Friend, 69, of McClellandtown, doesn‚??t specify what lottery games he played or how often he won, though a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press that authorities believe most or all of Friend‚??s income in those years came from the Pennsylvania Lottery. The official refused to be publicly identified Thursday because that information is not specifically spelled out in the indictment.
Friend apparently won the money by playing large numbers of 50-cent tickets on the lottery‚??s daily Big 4 game, the official said. In that game, players must match four numbers ranging from 0 to 9, which means there are 10,000 possible combinations ‚?? from 0000 to 9999 ‚?? in each mid-day and evening drawing.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Kaufman declined to comment on the charges on Thursday and would not say whether Pennsylvania Lottery officials were involved in the investigation. An Internal Revenue Service spokeswoman responded with an email saying IRS employees generally are restricted from commenting on people‚??s tax issues.
Lottery spokeswoman Elizabeth Brassell, beyond explaining the Big 4 game, declined to comment on Friend‚??s case.
‚??We have security staff that‚??s always cooperative with government agencies and their investigations,‚?Ě she said.
The indictment contends Friend earned $101,818 in 2009 and avoided paying $22,229 in income tax ‚??by causing persons known to the grand jury to cash in his winning Pennsylvania lottery tickets in order to conceal ... his true and correct income.‚?Ě
In 2010, the grand jury contends, Friend did the same thing on earnings of $378,779 on which he should have paid $110,216 in taxes.
Friend‚??s defense attorney on an unrelated state case did not immediately return a call for comment Thursday. Friend‚??s phone number isn‚??t listed, and U.S. District Court records in Pittsburgh don‚??t list a defense attorney for him in the tax evasion case.
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