UK Lottery Scammer Edward Putman Imprisoned for Nine Years for Forging £2.5 Million Ticket
Posted on: October 7, 2019, 10:31h.
Last updated on: October 7, 2019, 12:06h.
A fraudster who claimed a £2.5 million ($3 million) prize with a fake lottery ticket a decade ago was sentenced Friday to nine years in prison by a judge in Hertfordshire, UK. Edward Putman, 54, was found to have conspired with an insider, Giles Knibbs, who worked for the UK National Lottery provider, Camelot. Knibbs committed suicide in 2015.
According to The Guardian, Knibbs, who has previous prison convictions for rape and welfare fraud, showed no emotion when jurors found him guilty of fraud by false representation on Friday after a trial lasting two weeks.
Previously, the court had heard that Putman and Knibbs had concocted a scheme to con the lottery after Knibbs had got his hands on a document containing details of wins that had not been claimed, with serial numbers partially blacked out.
According to prosecutors, Knibbs then set about creating 100 fake tickets, each with one of 100 different possible unique codes.
In April 2009, as the deadline to claim the money ticked down, Putman went from store to store, presenting a different ticket in each, until he found a match.
The prize was awarded after the ticket was accepted as authentic, despite having been deliberately damaged and missing a barcode.
Blackmail and Suicide
“We used accounts from Knibbs’s friends, as well as documented evidence on his phone and financial transactions, to build a compelling case against Putman,” crown prosecutor Tapashi Nadarajah said. “This was further strengthened by indisputable evidence provided by an expert in the scientific examination of questioned documents.
“They found significant differences between the printing on genuine tickets and that on Putman’s ticket, concluding his ticket was not genuine,” he added.
But things began to unravel after the two men fell out over money. Knibbs reportedly told friends he had not received his £1 million share from Putman. Evidence suggested Knibbs was paid no more than £480,000 ($590,000) in total.
The scheme would probably have remained uncovered had Knibbs’ behavior not become increasingly erratic. He began revealing details of the plot to friends and, in June 2015, broke into Putman’s house, stealing his phone and breaking the wing mirrors on his car.
Lost and Found
Putman complained to police and Knibbs was arrested for burglary, blackmail, and criminal damage. Believing the fraud would be revealed and that he would go to prison, the lottery worker took his own life days before he was due to appear in court.
An anonymous whistleblower subsequently informed police that the win had not been genuine, but police were unable to build a case against Putman because Camelot had lost the fraudulent ticket.
Putman was charged in September 2018 after the ticket resurfaced and experts determined it to be a forgery.
“Whatever the exact monetary split you and Mr Knibbs had agreed, you did not pay him what split he felt he was owed,” said the judge while passing sentence. “The two of you fell out spectacularly. This crime struck at the integrity of the National Lottery. You have also undermined the public’s trust in the lottery itself.
“You would have got away with this,” he added, “but quite plainly you were greedy.”
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