$6.1 Million Lottery Prize in Limbo After Canadian Couple Breaks Up
A Canadian couple reportedly agreed that if one of them ever won the lottery, they would share the earnings.
“Together we dreamed about winning the lotto,” Denis Robertson said in a sworn affidavit, the CBC reported earlier this month. “We both love muscle cars, we would each buy one and buy a large property in the country and build a large shop to work on our cars.”
Her ex-boyfriend Maurice Thibeault and she lived together for nearly three years and they purchased lottery tickets for “almost their entire relationship.”
Thibeault then told her that a Lotto 6/49 ticket was not a winner before he moved out of their home. Later, Thiebeault attempted to claim a $6.1 million winning ticket from Sept. 20, about five days after he moved out, CTV reported.
On Oct. 13, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation froze the funds until the matter is resolved in court.
“I am greatly saddened and disappointed by what has happened here,” Robertson said, according to a law firm representing her in the case. “This could have been a very happy and exciting time for us, a couple, to do things we could only dream of doing.”
“We always agreed that if we had a winning ticket, the proceeds would be ours, together as a couple,” she wrote in an affidavit.
A text message conversation between the two was filed in court on the day the lotto winnings were announced:
Robertson: Did you buy a 649 tix for last night?
Robertson: OMG …check it!!
Thibeault: I will need to check my ticket.
When Thibeault returned home, he told her that she didn’t win, Dearly reported.
Robertson claimed Thibeault quit his job days later at a granite shop and texted a photo of the winning ticket to his boss. On Sept. 28, she filed a court injunction.
She learned from a mutual friend that he had quit his job.
“When I look back, I recall that he did approximately 15 loads of laundry of all his clothes the night prior … as if he was preparing to pack up and leave,” Robertson said in the affidavit.
A woman came home from work to find her live-in boyfriend had taken off and was trying to cash in a $6 million prize https://t.co/wKkwJ84O0P
— Metro News Canada (@MetroNewsCanada) October 12, 2017
Tony Bitonti, the lottery’s senior manager of media relations, told the Toronto Star that there are strict rules on awarding prizes.
“The prize claim process is a process OLG would have followed regardless of whether there was an injunction or not,” Bitonti said, “Anyone or group presenting a ticket worth $1,000 or more is subject to the prize claim review process to determine ownership of the specific ticket. For prizes of $10,000 or more, this review process includes a mandatory in-person interview of the claimant conducted by an OLG prize claims investigator.”
“While OLG has key information about the ticket — where and when it was purchased, was it purchased with other lottery products, etc. — in addition, we ask the claimant certain questions about the ticket and the circumstances surrounding its purchase in order to confirm ownership,” he added.
Bitonti said the lottery commission cannot provide a timetable for when the process will be completed.