Steal to Win: Does Crime Pay Off for Lottery Players?

Does Crime Pay Off for Lottery Players?

How far are you willing to go to win the lottery? Some people will be taking their efforts to an extreme. Winning the lottery after paying for a ticket with a stolen credit card is a real thing, and it hasn’t happened just once in the history of games. There have been multiple instances of a winning lottery ticket bought with a stolen credit card, and here are some of the most blatant examples.

The One-Million-Dollar Stolen Card Ticket

Christina Goodenow

Going through history, there are multiple examples of a winning lotto ticket bought with a stolen credit card. One of the oldest and most prominent cases dates back to 2005.

Back then, a woman bought a lottery ticket in Oregon using the stolen credit card of a dead person.

Christina Goodenow purchased a lottery ticket on October 9, 2005. The credit card she used belonged to her mother-in-law who had passed over one year before the incident.

It turned out that the ticket produced a one-million-dollar price. Goodenow chose annual payments, and she even received the first sum of 33,500 dollars. This is when detectives smelled something fishy and started investigating the situation.

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Goodenow herself alerted the authorities by using the stolen card to buy multiple other things on top of the lottery ticket. She was charged with theft, forgery, and possession of methamphetamines, among other things.

This was the beginning of a long, long, long court battle. There were sentences, appeals, and more procedures. The saga eventually ended in 2012. Goodenow argued in court that depriving her of her one-million-dollar prize was excessive punishment for the use of the stolen credit card.

As a part of the original sentence Goodenow received, her lottery prize (minus the 33,500 dollars she had already spent) was forfeited to the Medford Police Department. Her lawyer argued that while she was sentenced to felonies. Goodenow did not commit crimes serious enough to warrant the forfeiture of her lottery prize.

Eventually, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled out that the Medford Police Department could collect the sum initially awarded to Goodenow by Oregon Lottery. According to the court, the forfeiture wasn’t an excessive punishment because it involved only money that Goodenow had obtained through illegal means.

You’re Under Arrest for Lottery Cheating

Another instance of a winning lottery ticket bought with a stolen credit card occurred in 2019 in Canada.

It all started with a man’s wallet being stolen, which triggered a police investigation. Police eventually found out that the credit card from the stolen wallet was used to buy a lottery ticket. Through the analysis of CCTV footage, law enforcement professionals came across the 33-year-old perpetrator.

The woman was arrested when she came forward to collect the lottery prize that she had won through the purchase of a said ticket. She was attempting to cash out a reward of 50,000 Canadian dollars.

As per official reports, the woman was charged with two counts of possessing a stolen credit card and five counts of fraud.

It’s still too early to tell what would happen to the (un)lucky Canadian criminal. If she’s found guilty of the charges, the money she won will go back to the Atlantic Lottery unclaimed prize fund. The funds would be used to provide future prices to people who bought their tickets without turning to crime.

Who’s Suing Who?

Mark Goodram and Jon-Ross Watson

One of the most tangled scenarios unfolded in London where two friends supposedly won a four-million-pound prize by using a stolen credit card.

Mark Goodram and Jon-Ross Watson decided to test their lottery luck only a few days after getting out of prison.

Eventually, the duo found out that their ticket had won a prize in the vicinities of four million pounds. Happy with the life-changing event, they went wild partying and posing with banknotes for social media pictures.

Camelot (the entity operating the National Lottery), however, had a different idea. In an official announcement, Camelot reported that the payment wouldn’t be made because a stolen bank account card was used to buy the 10-pound scratch card ticket.

Concerns about the legitimacy of the purchase arose after it was found out that neither Goodram nor Watson had a bank account.

The two men, however, said that they hadn’t done anything wrong and that they’d sue Camelot over the refusal to pay the lottery prize. As the investigation is still ongoing, the sum is withheld instead of being paid out to the winners.

Goodram and Watson showed just how serious they were by hiring a lawyer and even giving the lottery a deadline of June 4, 2019, for the payment to be made. According to the lawyer, Camelot was holding the past of the two winners against them. The bias was keeping the operator from paying out the much-deserved reward.

The case became a massive media sensation. Goodram and Watson were questioned about the origin of the money used to buy the lottery ticket. Initially, the couple said that they’d used loose change to buy the ticket. The story, however, changed later on. Eventually, the two guys told the media a friend called John had purchased the ticket for them. Hmmm… do you feel as if something’s wrong here?

Media reports suggest that Goodram is now homeless after being denied the prize by Camelot.

We’ll keep following the story as it has the potential to continue generating controversy for months and months to come. As of now, Camelot is still refusing to make the payment.

What’s the lesson to learn from these stories, folks? Don’t try to cheat the lottery and don’t commit a crime to win. Sooner or later, the truth is going to surface. As you’ve seen from the examples above, the consequences can be terrible, and the millions can disappear as quickly as they’ve materialized themselves.

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