Earlier this week, it was announced that Kathryn Jones of Hamilton Ontario was the rightful winner of the $50 million Lotto Max jackpot drawn over a year ago on November 30 2012. The announcement shocked many people as it was assumed the prize would be forfeited after Jones failed to claim the jackpot prior to the one year deadline.
The OLG conducted a very long and detailed investigation to not only find Jones, but verify that she was, in fact entitled to the Lotto Max jackpot. According to official records, the OLG assigned 17 of its top gambling investigators to search through 435 separate claims submitted over the course of the year for the prize money.
Tony Bitonti, chief spokesperson for the OLG, says the magnitude of this investigation was unprecedented. Bitonti says the OLG has never before conducted this type of search for a winner.
“No one came to officially claim the ticket, but we had hundreds of inquiries. We have to do the due diligence and review every one of these inquiries and claims.”
A lottery winner is generally given up to two months to come forward and claim their prize voluntarily. After those two months pass, the OLG will begin its outreach through the media in an attempt to find the entitled winner.
Once the media outreach began in search of Jones, inquiries from across the country poured in claiming ownership of the winning ticket. The OLG searched through 435 inquiries until one of the leads took the investigators to a Shoppers Drug Mart in Cambridge, Ontario where the winning ticket was purchased.
The OLG knew details about the purchase that were never publicly released, including the date of the purchase, how it was made, and the value of the ticket. When investigators arrived at the store, Bitonti says they searched through security cameras from the date on record, and found the one customer who bought a Lotto Max ticket worth the exact value on record.
“The video tape clearly shows the identified winner purchasing the ticket at that location.”
This information led investigators to Jones back in October, where the team conducted a number of intense interviews with the woman to ensure she was the person identified on the store tape. After an intense investigation that included reviews of Jones’ credit card statements, the OLG finally was comfortable enough to announce the long-delayed winner of the November 30 Lotto Max jackpot.