Canadian lottery scandal (update)


Police now looking for the real owner of Cdn$12.5 million winning ticket

The owner of a Toronto convenience store who stole a winning lottery ticket worth Cdn$12.5 million, aided by family accomplices, is at the centre of a lottery scam that has shocked residents in Ontario, Canada .

At a press conference in Toronto Wednesday the provincial police and the management of Ontario Lottery and Gaming appealed to the public for assistance in finding the defrauded rightful owner of the Super 7 ticket and revealed details of the scam.

Unfortunately, the incident occurred seven years ago, and since then the family accused of perpetrating the fraud has been living a luxurious life of big-ticket spending.

Police investigators revealed Wednesday that the winning ticket was drawn on December 26 in 2003.

Someone bought a ticket at a That's Entertainment video store in St. Catharines, and subsequently validated it in nearby Burlington, where it won a free play, police revealed. But the father and son who validated the ticket at the convenience store never handed the free ticket over to the customer, and that ticket hit the Cdn$12.5 million jackpot.

Investigators claim that the father gave the stolen ticket to his daughter, who claimed the prize and denied she had any connection to a lottery retailer.

Jun-Chul Chung (60) Kathleen Chung (29) and Kenneth Chung (28) face several charges, including fraud. They were released on bail after appearing in an Ontario court Wednesday, with the next court appearance scheduled for October 27.

Police have seized some Cdn$10-million in assets.

OLG chairman Paul Godfrey said at the police press conference: 'We don't know the identity of the person who bought the ticket because, historically, lottery in Canada has been anonymous.

'But if someone can come in and tell us everything we already know about the ticket, down to the last detail, there's a good chance we're looking at the rightful owner.'

The OLG revealed that it had discovered the scam through the use of new technology implemented earlier this year and designed to track and detect patterns in ticket sale data. In this case, the technology created a profile of the owner of the 2003 winning ticket.

This showed that the ticket buyer likely lived and worked in both St. Catharines and Burlington and often bought many tickets, which leads investigators to believe the winning ticket was part of a group purchase. The buyer regularly purchased Super 7 tickets at That's Entertainment.

Godfrey said the new data analysis computer system, developed with Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft, can scan data as far back as 1999, and could potentially find that others may have also been defrauded.

Whenever the new technology finds something suspicious, the OLG hands information over to police, he added.

Police confirmed they are investigating other potential cases but wouldn't reveal further details.

'This is a never-ending process. As time goes on there will be other suspicious wins that will be investigated,' said police commissioner Chris Lewis.

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