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OLG tracks down ticketless $50M Lotto Max winner

By Terry Davidson, Toronto Sun

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TORONTO - 

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation claims to have found a potential winner of an outstanding $50 million Lotto Max prize.

The only problem is, Kathryn Jones doesn’t have the actual ticket.

Following what is being described as one of the most “unique” investigations in its organization’s history, the OLG announced Tuesday that Jones, a 55-year-old married mother of two university students, as the winner of a $50 million prize from a November 2012 Lotto Max draw.

Investigators from the OLG have determined Jones had purchased the winning ticket from a Shoppers Drug Mart in Cambridge, but it was only after an investigation into hundreds of other claimants - and one in particular - that OLG officials were able to make this determination.

When a winner didn’t come for after the draw in November of last year, the OLG had more than 435 people inquire about the winning ticket.

One person who came forward feeling they may be the winner caught the eye of investigators, and they began looking into all the locations where this person had purchased their lottery tickets.

One location included the Shoppers Drug Mart in Cambridge.

With the use of transaction data around the place and time of the purchase of the winning ticket, investigators determined that it had, in fact, been sold at that drug store.

However, they quickly discovered it was not to the claimant they were investigating.

Officials used video footage from the store to get a look at who bought the winning ticket, which was a $16 Lotto Max ticket.

Jones was approached by OLG investigators in October and interviewed about her purchase of the coveted lottery ticket.

She had since lost the ticket she had bought, but was able to provide proof of purchase through a credit-card statement.

She was then put through another, independent, investigation after it was found that her sister owns a retail outlet in the Ottawa area that sells lottery tickets.

That investigation was officially closed Tuesday.

“For one year that prize went outstanding...until now,” said OLG president and CEO Rod Phillips. “(Jones) has been identified as the winner, and is one step closer to claiming that prize...We are confident we’ve found the right person.”

The OLG will now hold the prize money 30 days to see if any contesting claims come forward.

Barring that, Jones will be handed the money in January of the new year.

Jones, an engineer who works in “project management”, says they’ve not made any concrete plans for the money quite yet.

“It has been a very weird and wonderful ride,” said Jones. “To lose a ticket and then have the OLG ... contact me is incredible.”

She divulged few details of her family, such as her kids’ ages or genders.
 

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