Lottery license suspended at Jones News in Easthampton
EASTHAMPTON — Jones News, the Main Street shop whose bill-payment service is the subject of a police investigation, had its state lottery license suspended last week.
Beth Bresnahan, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts State Lottery, said the store’s license was suspended Nov. 27 for “not depositing funds into their lottery account in a timely manner.”
Easthampton Police are investigating the store’s bill-payment service, which involves store owner Alan Bouyea using his bank accounts to pay bills for customers who pay him in cash. No charges have been filed against Bouyea.
Bresnahan said the lottery receives payments for lottery tickets sold by licensed retailers by doing “an electronic sweep of the retailer’s designated bank account,” where the funds are expected to be deposited.
Bouyea declined to comment on his payments to the lottery.
“The license will remain suspended, pending a hearing with our Finance Department,” Bresnahan said in an email to the Gazette. “A hearing date has not yet been scheduled. The retailer has until Dec. 20 to schedule. If they fail to do so, their license to sell lottery may be revoked.”
When asked if he planned to try to get his license reinstated, Bouyea said, “I don’t know.”
The investigation of Jones News began a few months ago, when customers began reporting to police that after giving Bouyea cash, they were receiving shut-off notices and other indications that their bills were not being paid.
Last week, Bouyea admitted that he has been having issues with bill payment and sometimes mixes up the five accounts he uses to pay the bills. He said he was cooperating with police.
Bouyea, 66, has operated the convenience store at 81 Main St. for more than 35 years and is a former city councilor who served from 1996 to 2001.
Rebecca Everett can be reached at email@example.com.