20th of April 2009 Author: Glo Wood
The "finders keepers, losers weepers" story of a Swindon housewife who cashed in a winning lotto ticket she found on the floor of a supermarket made many UK newspapers this week.
The Daily Express reported that Amanda Stacey (34) picked up the lotto ticket off the floor of a supermarket, took it home and was delighted to discover that it was a winning ticket worth GBP 30 000.
But instead of handing the ticket in, she and her husband cashed it in and used the prize money for their personal gain....and as a result now face possible imprisonment for fraud.
The real owner of the ticket was regular player Dorothy McDonagh (61) who realised it had in fact been her ticket, which she proved to the lotto administrators, Camelot.
The case was reported to the police, who immediately froze the remaining GBP 15 000 of the prize in the Staceys possession and brought charges of theft and dishonesty.
When interviewed by officers, Amanda Stacey said she had not realised she was committing a crime. She simply put the find down to good luck.
But the Crown Prosecution Service took a different view. The Staceys were taken to court where they admitted making a false representation. Stacey also admitted theft.
They were each given 11-month suspended jail sentences. The judge at Swindon Crown Court said the pair acted out of financial need, not greed.
Rob Ross, defending, told the court: 'It is important for the public to know that 'Finders keepers, losers weepers' is not true and never was true.'
A court hearing in July will decide if Dorothy McDonagh will get the GBP 15 000 that remains. The only way she can recover the other half is by a private action.
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