UK National Lottery operator Camelot may prosecute the grandmother who claimed she had a winning lotto ticket worth £33 million but had accidentally sent the winning ticket through the washing machine inside a pair of jeans. Now, it may be the lottery that takes Susanne Hinte to the cleaners.
Previously, speculation had run rampant after Camelot announced it was still waiting for the second winner of a £66 million jackpot to come forward. Hundreds of people claimed to have the winning ticket or lost it, but one story, in particular, caught the media’s attention of late. It was the story of one Miss Suzanne Hinte who produced a battered, barely legible ticket with the winning numbers that caught the attention of officials and lottery fans alike.
Her story sounded like something out of a film. According to her, she had the winning ticket and then inadvertently sent it through the wash tucked inside the pocket of a pair of jeans. What separated her from the hundred other people who came forward with such claims was her ability to produce a tattered ticket that did indeed contain the winning numbers.
Naturally, Camelot officials couldn’t help but notice the amazing coincidence that her ticket was so beat up that the bar code, date of purchase and raffle drawing numbers were all damaged beyond legibility but yet the winning numbers were plainly visible for all to see. The coincidence was striking: the one number she needed to claim the prize was perfectly legible while every other piece of information that could have been used to confirm or deny the ticket’s validity was scraped clean by the offending washing machine.
Her already-shaky story received its final death blow on January 28th, nineteen days after the fateful drawing. Camelot announced yesterday that the actual winner of the £33m jackpot has come forward with the true winning ticket. The real winner remains anonymous, but Camelot issued a press release stating:
“We’re delighted that the winner of this amazing prize has now come forward and we hope that they will enjoy their win. It would have been awful if the ticket-holder had missed out on this substantial and life-changing amount of money. We would like to remind all National Lottery players to check their tickets every time they play.”
A quote from a Camelot spokeswoman given to the Independent left open the possibility of filing charges against Miss Hinte:
“However, if we believe that somebody has intentionally attempted to defraud the National Lottery, then, just like any other company, we reserve the right to take whatever action we consider is appropriate.”
So, I guess this closes the story on Susanne Hinte (or does it?) and her entertaining but ultimately fruitless endeavor to finagle her way into a major lotto jackpot. It just doesn’t seem to be the wisest strategy to claim a major jackpot so quickly when the real winner could still be out there getting ready to come forward any day now. Then again, most people clever enough to think that far ahead probably have come up with more effective means for earning a living.