2006_08_nylotto.gifThis might be the craziest story you'll hear all week: A modest wife and mother of three who worked as a bookkeeper ended up embezzling $2.3 million from her job for her scratch-off Lotto habit. Oh, yes: Long Island resident Annie Donnelly would spend up to $6,000 a day on Lotto tickets at a local card store while siphoning money from the medical practice she worked at. Donnelly started small, taking $41,261 in 2002; in 2003, she took $225,482; in 2004, she took $675,247; and last year, she took $1,381,927 - all by writing small checks and moving around money in the accounts. The Suffolk County DA's office doesn't think she won more than $100,000 in the three and a half years she was playing, and now, she faces jail and will have to pay back all the money - her family has to sell their $375,000 house.

Donnelly's husband, who never noticed there was a problem - she never talked about her habit and bills were paid, so there - and still loves her, is mad at the cardstore for letting his wife buy $6,000 in Lotto tickets, which made her the bigest revenue generator for the whole store: "They didn't wonder how a housewife could spend that much every day?" The store's clerk thought Donnelly had already won a jackpot, based on the way she was spending, and told the NY Times, “When we would ask questions, she would say, ‘What’s your problem? Why are you asking these questions?’ ... I did think why doesn’t her husband say something?”

The NY State Problem Gambling Council on the warning signs of problem gambling.