A Canadian woman is fighting to keep a piece of her boyfriend’s $6.1 million lottery winnings.
Denise Robertson showed evidence of a text message conversation between the couple showing how her boyfriend planned to share his lottery winnings with her. She claims winning was a mutual dream they had. She said he left without telling her. Now she is trying to get a court injunction to stop him from receiving a payout unless she can get half, CBC reported.
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“Together we dreamed about winning the lotto,” said Robertson in a court document, describing what she and her boyfriend planned to do with the money. “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.”
The lottery was for a $12.2 million jackpot that was split between two winning tickets. The text message submitted shows Robertson contacting boyfriend Maurice Thibeault to let him know there was a winner in their area and it might be him. But Robertson said that when Thibeault got home, he told her he did not have a winning ticket. Robertson and Thibeault are both 46 years old.
But Thibeault packed his things, ended his employment at a granite shop, and left. His passport was gone from the house they shared, according to Robertson. She recalled him washing about 15 loads of clothes the day before, as if he was getting ready to go somewhere.
“We always agreed that if we had a winning ticket, the proceeds would be ours, together as a couple,” wrote Robertson in the affidavit.
Robertson filed to get the payments stopped. A judge agreed not to allow payment to be disbursed until the issue of ownership could be cleared up. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) has said that Thibeault has already tried to claim the prize, but the corporation’s policy is strict, even without the court injunction, on vetting winners of prizes larger than $10,000.
“If, for any reason, our prize claim review team cannot confidently determine the ownership of the ticket from the answers to the questions from the interview, then the claim is sent to OLG general investigations for further review,” OLG’s senior manager of media relations told CBC News via email.
According to a the Toronto Star, Thibeault is “laying low” and not revealing his location, waiting to see when and if he can collect his winnings. Friends said Thibeault was always planning to leave if he won the lottery.
OLG investigators can examine buying patterns through security camera footage at purchase locations and through buying data. They have not revealed how they will determine if Robertson is owed part of the winnings or if there are criteria that has to be met regarding the authenticity of the relationship.