March 8, 1998 in Nation/World

Gunman Told Writers Lottery Was A Rip-Off Accountant Who Killed 4, Self Told Papers That Potential Winnings Were Falsified

Brigitte Greenberg Associated Press
 

The accountant who gunned down four people at state lottery headquarters before killing himself had complained to newspapers months beforehand that lottery players were being cheated.

Matthew Beck, who worked for the lottery more than eight years, approached at least two newspaper reporters to interest them in recent changes at the lottery.

He claimed the Connecticut Lottery Corp. exaggerated potential winnings to spur ticket sales and that store clerks were taking winning scratch tickets for themselves by cracking the computer system.

His discussions with The Day of New London and The Hartford Courant included his complaints of unfair treatment at work.

The Courant described him as frothing at the mouth and said his eyes were “wild,” while the Day described him as “scruffy” in appearance.

Beck, 35, shot to death four of his bosses Friday, including one who was chased into a parking lot and shot as he reportedly begged for his life. As police approached, Beck put the pistol to his temple and fired.

A cache of weapons was later found inside Beck’s home, a law enforcement sourcesaid.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said police recovered three assault rifles and two large-caliber handguns from his home.

Beck used a Glock semiautomatic handgun in his shooting spree, police said. He had used up over one clip of ammunition and had two others on his body, one containing at least 19 rounds, the source said.

Beck’s father, Donald, choked back tears Saturday as he read a written statement from him and his wife, Priscilla, apologizing to the victims’ families.

“His murderous act was monstrous, but he was not a monster, as his friends and family can attest,” he said.

Donald Beck said that in spite of support from coworkers, friends and family and treatment, counseling and medications from doctors, his son “chose the wrong path, a path of hopelessness when other avenues were open before him.”

Beck was described by friends and co-workers as a quiet, diligent worker who became mired in depression because of job problems.

He went years without a promotion, then filed a grievance in August one year after he was shifted from accounting to data processing work.

After taking a stress-related medical leave in October and undergoing treatment, he returned to work Feb. 25 when an arbitrator ruled he had taken on responsibilities outside his job description.

Prior to returning to work, Beck told reporters about alleged lottery scams.

“They need to increase (revenues) by $30 million and they’re under a lot of pressure to let other things take a back seat,” Beck told The Day in January in explaining why jackpots were being exaggerated.

In November, lottery officials admitted projected Lotto jackpots had been inflated for years by rounding sales projections to the nearest half-million-dollar figure. Otho Brown, the lottery president killed Friday in the parking lot, said that the practice had been stopped.

Beck also claimed that some store clerks had been cheating the system by “fishing” for instant winning tickets, the Courant said.

He told the newspaper that the clerks punched code numbers into lottery computers until they came up with the winning combination and then would take the cash.

Lottery officials declined to comment Saturday.

Beck, who had recently taken to shaving his head and wearing a goatee, arrived to work Friday morning with a semiautomatic handgun and a butcher-style knife. He had driven in from Ledyard, where he had moved back in with his parents six months ago.

He first stabbed and shot Michael Logan, an information services manager who first denied his grievance. He then walked into an adjacent area and shot Linda Mlynarczyk, the lottery’s chief financial officer with whom he had recently discussed his new duties. He told her “bye bye” before firing three times, witnesses said.

He then shot Frederick Rubelmann III, a person he had once appealed to for help, before chasing down Brown in the parking lot.

MEMO: Cut in Spokane Edition

Cut in Spokane Edition


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