Builder convicted of £ 2.5million lottery jackpot fraud

A con artist has been found guilty of cashing in a fake national lottery ticket to claim a jackpot of £ 2.5million.

Edward Putman, 54, conspired with a Camelot insider to cheat the system and present a fake slip to claim the outstanding top prize in 2009.

The builder hatched the plot with his friend Giles Knibbs – who at the time worked in the lottery operator’s securities department – with the pair submitting a deliberately damaged counterfeit just before the 180-day limit expired to stake the claims. complaints.

Fake lottery ticket
The fake national lottery ticket used by con artist Edward Putman (CPS / PA)

Jurors at St Albans Crown Court found Putman guilty of fraud by misrepresentation after a two-week trial on Friday.

Putman, dressed in a Barbour-style jacket and blue jeans, did not appear to react to the verdict.

The real winning ticket, which was purchased in Worcester, was never discovered.

Putman, a convicted rapist and benefits cheater, was awarded the jackpot by Camelot despite the bottom portion of the mutilated slip missing the barcode, according to the lawsuit.

Jurors have learned that the scam began to crumble after the friendship between former business partners, Mr Knibbs and Putman, deteriorated.

Mr Knibbs’ behavior became increasingly erratic and he began revealing details of the fraud to friends after failing to receive what he said was his agreed-upon share of £ 1million of the price.

He faced Putman in a heated argument in June 2015, smashing Putman’s side mirrors and stealing his phone.

The trial of Edward Putman
Edward Putman taking photos outside St Albans Crown Court (Steve Parsons / PA)

Evidence suggests Mr Knibbs was initially paid £ 280,000 by Putman for his part in the ruse, followed by much smaller increases totaling £ 50,000.

The scam started after Mr Knibbs saw printed materials containing details of big earnings that had not yet been claimed while working late at night.

Prosecutor James Keeley said at trial there had been “trial and error” in producing a successful counterfeit bill, with several different specimens made, each with one of 100 different possible unique codes at the bottom. .

Mr Knibbs had claimed that Putman visited 29 different stores as time passed to claim the money, providing each with a different ticket, before the correct number was found.

Mr Keeley said Putman finally submitted the correct code at a store in High Wycombe on August 28, 2009.

Despite his multi-million pound windfall, three years later, in 2012, Putman was sentenced to nine months for benefit fraud after claiming £ 13,000 in housing and income support.

His previous convictions also include the rape of a teenager in the early 1990s, for which he was sentenced to seven years.

In 2016, the Gambling Commission fined Camelot £ 3million for violating its operating license relating to database monitoring, the investigation of prize claims and the payment of prizes.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it “will take steps to recover its fraudulently acquired gains”.

Tapashi Nadarajah District Crown Attorney: “Edward Putman tricked the National Lottery operators with his ‘winning’ ticket, making him a millionaire; but his lies collapsed with the tragic death of his co-conspirator with whom he was unwilling to share the money.

“We used the accounts of Knibbs’ friends, along with documented evidence on his phone and financial transactions, to build a compelling case against Putman.

“This was further reinforced by compelling evidence provided by an expert in the scientific review of the disputed documents.

“They found significant differences between the printing on genuine banknotes and that on Putman’s banknote, concluding that his banknote was not genuine.”

Putman is to be sentenced by Judge Philip Gray later.

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