St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada: The joy over a big lotto win was short-lived for a Newfoundland woman now accused of using a stolen credit card to buy the lucky $50,000 ticket.
Police in St. John’s say they began investigating after a man told the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary on Jan. 22 that his wallet had been stolen and his credit cards were being used at shops in Paradise, N.L.
One of the purchases was a lottery ticket that ended up winning “a large amount of money,” police said.
Const. James Cadigan said it didn’t take long for officers to identify the location where the cards were used and, with the help of closed circuit TV, who was allegedly using them.
“What makes it unusual is that someone purchased a lottery ticket that actually was a winner,” he said Friday.
Cadigan said police became aware that the winner may have been heading to the Atlantic Lottery Corp. offices to collect her winnings.
As a result, a 33-year-old woman intent on picking up the jackpot was instead charged Thursday with two counts of possessing a stolen credit card and five counts of fraud.
He added that she did not receive the winnings.
“We’re just happy to reach a conclusion on an investigation where we feel we have grounds to lay charges based on our information,” he said.
Natalie Belliveau, spokeswoman for Atlantic Lottery, said she could not comment on the case because it was before the courts. But she confirmed that the woman would not be allowed to keep the prize money, as per company policy.
“We do advise that Atlantic Lottery only pays prizes for lawfully acquired tickets,” she said in an email.
The suspect’s luck continued to run out when the 46-year-old driver of the car she took to the lottery corporation’s offices was ticketed for driving while suspended and without insurance, causing her vehicle to be impounded.
Who gets paid?
There have been plenty of suggestions on social media that the winnings should go to the man who was allegedly defrauded.
However, Atlantic Lottery says it’s impossible for someone to reap the rewards of somebody else’s illegal exploits.
“Without commenting further on this specific situation, we do advise that Atlantic Lottery only pays prizes for lawfully acquired tickets,” said spokesperson Natalie Belliveau. “We have a robust process in place with a series of checks and balances to ensure this.”
If it goes unpaid, the $50,000 will instead go into the corporation’s unclaimed prize account, which goes toward future jackpots.
In the process of making the arrest, the RNC stopped the vehicle in which the woman was a passenger. The driver, a 46-year-old woman, was ticketed for driving with a suspended licence and without insurance.
Police impounded the vehicle, released both women on promises to appear in court, and left them waiting on the curbside for a taxi.