The UK National Lottery has been operated by Camelot Group since 1994.
The UK National Lottery has been operated by Camelot Group since 1994.

$4.5m won with ‘fake’ lotto ticket

A BRITISH man has been charged with lottery fraud nearly a decade after using an allegedly fake ticket to claim a $4.5 million jackpot.

Hertfordshire Police this week said 53-year-old Edward Putman had been charged with fraud by false representation after an investigation into the 2009 incident.

The winning numbers 6, 9, 20, 21, 31, 34 were drawn on March 11 and matched a ticket bought in Worcestershire, about two hours from where Mr Putman lived.

When no one came forward, Mr Putman made a claim for the outstanding prize. The £2.5 million ($4.5 million) was paid out by National Lottery operator Camelot, despite the ticket he submitted reportedly not having a working barcode.

"In 2015 an investigation was opened by Hertfordshire Constabulary's Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit, after evidence came to light that the claim was not genuine," police said in a statement.

According to The Telegraph, Mr Putman asked for "no publicity" after winning the jackpot, which he used to buy two homes in the village of Kings Langley - one for £600,000 ($1.1 million) and another for £400,000 ($730,000) - and a fleet of around a dozen cars.

In 2016, the UK Gambling Commission fined Camelot £3 million ($5.5 million) after an "in-depth investigation" into the issue, which was "immediately brought to the attention of the Commission and police" when it came to light the previous year.

Mr Putman was reportedly arrested in 2015 but released without charge.

The Commission's investigation concluded that, "whilst it could not be certain a fraud had taken place, it was more likely than not that a fraudulent prize claim had been made and paid out" on a "deliberately damaged ticket".

"The Gambling Commission's chief concern is to ensure the National Lottery is run with integrity and that player interests are protected," Commission chief executive Sarah Harrison said in a statement at the time.

"Camelot's failures in this case are serious and the penalty package reflects this. Importantly, the package also ensures that good causes will not lose out as a result of Camelot's licence breach.

"Lottery players can feel reassured that our investigations have found no evidence of similar events happening and that controls are in place today to mitigate against future prize payout failings of this type."

Mr Putman was released on bail to appear at St Albans Magistrates Court on October 16. A spokesman for Camelot told the paper it was "not appropriate for us to comment at this stage, given that the matter is now the subject of criminal proceedings".