A Canadian convenience store worker and his daughter have been jailed and fined C$4.6m ($3.5m, £2.6m) for stealing a winning lottery ticket.
Jun-Chul Chung, 68, and his daughter Kathleen Chung, 36, were sentenced to seven and four years in prison.
Her brother, Kenneth Chung, who ran the convenience store in a Toronto suburb where his father worked, was given a 10-month sentence.
The real ticket winner eventually got his C$12.5m earnings – plus interest.
“I’m just really happy,” winner Daniel Campbell said in 2011, when the winnings were restored.
He split the jackpot with six of his colleagues who were part of a lottery pool.
“It’s a big deal for myself and my family and I can maybe help them out and take care of them. I’m a little overwhelmed; a lot overwhelmed.”
Justice Douglas Gray ordered the father and daughter to each pay C$2.3m, the amount remaining on the winning ticket after approximately C$8m of assets were seized by the courts.
The court found the fraudsters had used the winnings to buy a mansions and luxury cars.
Mr Campbell got the ticket in 2003 from Variety Plus in Burlington, Ontario, after a previously purchased ticket won him five “free plays”.
Kenneth Chung managed the store, but it was his father Jun-Chul Chung who validated the five free plays.
Upon discovering that one of them was the winner, Jun-Chul stole it and returned the four losing tickets to Mr Campbell.
Then his daughter Kathleen Chung cashed the ticket in at the prize centre.
Months later, an investigator for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, which runs the province’s lottery, discovered her brother owned the Variety Plus where the ticket was validated.
But the OLG paid the ticket out to Chung anyway.
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The “shocking” fraud was highlighted in a 2007 government report on “suspicious wins” in the provincial-run lottery. The report called out the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation for not doing enough to stop fraud perpetuated by lottery ticket sellers.
The government estimates lottery retailers, employees and their families have taken home $198m in prizes over the past 13 years.
“They had a real policy of coddling up with retailers and retailers exploited that, and many were wily and got away with that,” former Ontario’s ombudsman Andre Marin told CBC News.
The gaming corporation has since cracked down on retailer fraud and police have charged a number of winners.
Source : BBC