Lost Lotto Ticket
In April of this year we brought you news that a lost Lotto ticket had been found by a couple who claimed the £30,000 prize that it had won as their own (see Couple Sentenced for Lottery Fraud). By the time the alarm had been raised by the rightful owner, Dorothy McDonagh, the couple – Michael and Amanda Stacey – had spent half of the winnings and police froze the rest. Swindon Crown Court has now ruled that the couple should hand the remaining £15,000 over, plus £112 interest, to Dorothy with immediate effect.
Of course, that still leaves Dorothy with £15,000 less than the prize she had won in the Daily Play lottery game, so she now intends to pursue the lottery organisers for the remaining amount.
We understand the frustration that the pensioner must be experienced, but we are doubtful that pursuing the lottery organisers will be effective. After all, the organisers had no reason to believe that the Stacey’s were being anything less than honest when they submitted the winning Daily Play ticket, so as far as we can see they are not liable for paying out the prize money. Indeed, the organisers hold a similar view and now say that the argument about the remaining £15,000 is between Dorothy McDonagh and the Staceys.
As for Michael and Amanda Stacey, the court heard that the couple had viewed themselves as being rather lucky in finding the Daily Play ticket, and did not think of claiming the prize as theft. Amanda had found the ticket in her local Co-Op store and it won the Daily Play game later that day. When the couple successfully claimed the £30,000 prize they spent half of it on debt repayments, new carpets and treats for their children. Then the police were called in, and the rest is history.
The problem for the Staceys seems to be that they genuinely believed that the principle of ‘finders keepers’ applies to lottery tickets, but that isn’t technically the case. Although lottery tickets can be claimed by the person holding them (as the Staceys have demonstrated) if the person who is claiming a lottery prize is not the ‘rightful owner’ of that ticket then an act of theft is being committed.
It is clear from this ongoing saga that a lost Lotto ticket (or even a found Lotto ticket) can lead to very stressful consequences. Our advice is to avoid the possibility of losing lottery tickets in the first place – simply buy lottery tickets online and there will be no paper ticket to lose. If you do have to buy a traditional ticket, be sure to write your name on the back of the ticket and keep it in a safe place until the draw is held – then claim any prize you are due as soon as you can.Monday 27th July 2009
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