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Social Security to Probe Source of Lottery Ticket Funds

November 15, 1985

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) _ Social Security officials will demand an accounting of a couple’s spree on lottery tickets to determine if some of the money came from federal payments for the support of their mentally retarded son.

Bill and Lynn Woehl said they have spent about $2,800 on tickets at $1 each since the California Lottery began operating seven weeks ago.

Hundreds and hundreds of losing tickets now cover an entire wall of their kitchen. The couple had a few winning tickets, but none for the top prizes of $5,000 or $100 and a chance to spin a wheel for prizes between $10,000 and $2 million.

Woehl, who is unemployed and admitted that he is a compulsive gambler, said the lottery splurge exhausted the family’s savings.

Family income is ″zilch,″ he said, except for the $400 monthly Supplemental Security Income check the Woehls receive for the support of their 16-year-old son, Alan.

He said money was set aside each month for rent, utilities and food.

″If there is no money for food and electricity, then we back off,″ Woehl said.

Gilbert Khachadourian, director of the Social Security office in Fresno, said it would be illegal to buy lottery tickets with money meant for their son. ″We will have the family give an accounting,″ he said.

State lottery director Mark Michalko was also disturbed.

″None of us at the lottery want to see this,″ Michalko said. ″If I could, I would try to stop this type of people from purchasing tickets.″