LOTTO WINNERS END 7-YEAR WAIT
Ontario men finally collect winnings after prize paid to wrong claimants
Seven former members of a Niagara, Ont.,-area construction crew took home more than $2 million apiece Thursday, seven years after a Burlington, Ont., convenience store manager and his family allegedly stole the winning ticket and claimed the $12.5-million windfall for their own.
“This is the best birthday present I’ll ever have,” said Michael Maddocks, who turns 36 today.
He and the other winners were given their cheques Thursday by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., following a lengthy investigation by Ontario Provincial Police.
When the OPP sent out a public appeal to find the purchasers of the winning ticket in September, more than 660 claimants came forward. It took new technology developed by the OLG, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft to track down the rightful winners. The Data Analytics and Retrieval Technology (DART) system is a program that provides instant access to billions of lottery transactions dating back to 1999 and enables identification of play patterns to help confirm legitimate winners and identify potentially fraudulent behaviour and claims.
“It’s a tool that investigators now use on a daily basis, but sadly didn’t exist in December 2003,” said Paul Godfrey, chair of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. “It can create detailed ticket profiles to help OLG find and fight and prevent frauds.” Godfrey is also the chief executive of Postmedia Network Inc.
By the time the seven men were paid Thursday, their winnings, with seven years’ interest, had grown from $12.5 million to $14.85 million.
The other winners are Joseph Reaman, James Reaman, Adam Barnett, Daniel Campbell, Jason Dykema, and Daniel MacGregor. Each of the seven received $2,121,545.68.
In September, police laid charges against store owner Jun-Chul Chung, 60, son Kenneth Chung, 28, and his daughter, Kathleen Chung, 29, for allegedly stealing lottery tickets, including fraud over $5,000 and possession of proceeds of crime.