The £66m National Lottery jackpot prize on 9th January 2016 was the biggest ever; it had the country gripped in ticket-buying frenzy right up to the day of the draw. One story stood out though in the midst of all the clamour; it was the tale of a 48 year old grandmother who attempted to claim a share of the prize with a damaged ticket, claiming it had the winning numbers on, but had been through the washing machine. She was not the only false claimant, and Camelot receive hundreds every time there is a major jackpot, a number that increases with particularly large jackpots. This time, it was some 400 such false claims.
Susanne Hinte took her damaged ticket to a newsagent near her home in Worcester after it was revealed that one winner had yet to come forward. The barcode of her ticket was damaged and there was no legible date. The first winners to claim went public and revealed as David and Carol Martin – both 54 years of age – from the Scottish Borders. In late January, another claimant came forward and wished to remain anonymous. Their ticket was validated on 28th January 2016. Had Ms Hinte’s ticket been valid, she would have had to wait 180 days for the investigation to conclude.
Susanne Hinte may now face a police probe after the real winners came forward. Police probes are rare for false lottery win claims, but Camelot said they had every intention of following up every false claim of a win following the record draw on the 9th January. There is already a law on the books, False Representation under the Fraud Act and Camelot are free to prosecute any false claim. Ms Hinte is already facing trial for theft relating to an incident in 2015.