NATIONAL Lottery chiefs were “conned” into paying out £2.5million after allegedly being duped with a fake winning ticket created by one of its staff, a jury heard.
The Lotto jackpot was paid to Edward Putman, 54, who claimed the prize from the March 11, 2009 draw.
It was just before the six-month deadline for claims that Mr Putman came forward with the ticket, which had been bought in the Co-op at St John’s Road, Worcester.
Camelot verified ticket was genuine and Mr Putman, of Kings Langley, Herts, collected £2,525,485, telling the company he wanted to remain anonymous.
The prosecution at St Albans crown court allege he pulled off a scam with the help of Camelot insider Giles Knibbs, who worked for the company’s fraud detection department in Watford and knew how to cheat the system.
Prosecutor James Keeley said the fraud came to light after Knibbs committed suicide at Ivinghoe Beacon in Bucks on 5 October 2015.
The court was told how a friend staying with Mr Knibbs before his death claimed he was “terrified” that the lottery fraud would emerge.
Mr Keeley, referring to the friend’s testimony, said: “Mr Knibbs said that the defendant was telling lies about him and thus wanted to create an alternative story without exposing the lottery fraud.
“He was very upset about the betrayed by the defendant.”
Mr Keeley said Mr Knibbs’ suicide in 2015 prompted police to carry out an investigation into the lottery win.
Mr Putman, who arrived at court with his face masked and wearing dark glasses, denies produced a fraudulent National Lottery ticket in a bid to make a gain £2,525,485.
Opening the case, Mr Keeley said: “The fraud remained a secret until 2015. Although Mr Knibbs received some of the proceeds of the lottery win from the defendant, Mr Knibbs did not feel that he had received his fair share and felt let down by him.
“On any view, Mr Knibbs felt that the defendant had treated him unjustly. It was this sense of injustice that came to a head in June 2015.”
He said Knibbs visited Edward Putman’s home and there was an argument.
It led Mr Putman to make allegations of burglary, blackmail and criminal damage against Giles Knibbs, who was arrested.
He was lying. He did not hold the winning tricked, but a forgery created by Mr Knibbs. The real winning ticket may still be out there for the real winner has never been identified.
Prosecutor James Keeley
Mr Keeley said: “Mr Knibbs worked for Camelot between 2004 and 2010. The prosecution state that this allowed him the opportunity to create the false ticket. A false ticket that he gave to the defendant to cash in.”
He said the jackpot prize draw on 11 March, 2009, remained unclaimed but on Friday 28 August the defendant called Camelot claiming he held the winning ticket.
The prosecutor added: “He was lying. He did not hold the winning tricked, but a forgery created by Mr Knibbs.
“The real winning ticket may still be out there for the real winner has never been identified.
He went on: “You will hear evidence from Camelot in respect of the defendant submitting the ticket and the investigation that Camelot held in early 2009.
“The issue of concern was that the ticket was badly damaged, lacking the entire bottom section.
“This section of the ticket held important information, in particular a number called the GGuard reference number.
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“This number was unique and was not to be found on any of Camelot’s system. Therefore Mr Knibbs could not have found this out and could not have created the GGuard number.
“It was convenience not coincidence that the ticket was ripped without this number. This ticket was a forgery.
“On 8 September 2009 Camelot concluded that the defendant was the genuine winner. However, they had been conned.”
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