Fort Dodge man with winning ticket accused of lottery fraud, extortion

Hanson tried to sidestep system because he owed money, charges say

Nicholas Hanson

A Fort Dodge man is facing multiple felony charges after he allegedly committed lottery fraud late last summer.

Nicholas M. Hanson, 39, is charged with four counts of money laundering and three counts of lottery forgery or theft.

Both charges are Class D felonies.

Criminal complaints, filed with the Webster County attorney’s office, allege that Hanson took part in a lottery fraud scheme that began on Aug. 31, 2018.

Hanson had purchased a winning lottery ticket, but according to criminal complaints, he owed money to multiple entities, including the state of Iowa for back taxes, Child Support Recovery, college loan debt and other debt collection agencies.

The complaints stated that Hanson approached two people and asked for help in redeeming his winning ticket, so he wouldn’t have to pay taxes on his winnings.

It’s alleged that one of those people redeemed the ticket and received the money instead of Hanson.

The complaints do not state how much money Hanson’s winning ticket was worth, but one said he deposited $1,000 into his bank account, which he received from the Iowa Lottery.

From there, it’s alleged that Hanson then tried to hide his winnings.

Among the ways he allegedly laundered the money include hiding some of it at a friend’s house, buying a TV, and going on a vacation to Las Vegas.

The Iowa Lottery started an investigation into Hanson, and on Nov. 29, 2018, Fort Dodge police searched Hanson’s home.

During that search, officers allegedly found marijuana, leading Hanson to be charged with possession of a controlled substance.

After the search warrant was served, Hanson allegedly went to the home of another man and demanded money from him. When the man told Hanson he didn’t have the money, Hanson allegedly threatened to reveal information about someone that the man “has a close, personal relationship with.”

The man then drove Hanson to the bank, where he withdrew an undisclosed amount of money and gave it to Hanson.

Because of that incident, Hanson was charged with extortion, which is a Class D felony.

He was arrested Wednesday and made his appearance in Webster County Magistrate Court that same morning.

Magistrate William Thatcher set Hanson’s total bond amount at $56,000.

A preliminary hearing has been set for Feb. 15.

Fort Dodge Police Capt. Ryan Gruenberg said that, while an arrest has been made, the investigation is ongoing, and more arrests and charges are possible.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Fort Dodge Police Department at 573-1426 or Webster County Crime Stoppers at 573-1444.