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Man caught stealing from charity lottery

Apr 8, 2008, 9:45 am

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The boss of a charity lottery has been jailed for pocketing thousands of pounds and taking his family on the dream holiday which was supposed to be the grand prize.

Millionaire Leigh Windsor, aged 46, stole $550,000 from two air ambulance charities and picked phantom winners from the phone book after rigging the draws.

He skimmed off the first three months of payments from thousands of customers who joined up because they believed they were supporting charity.

Windsor took his family on a $14,000 holiday to Barbados and ran a Hummer and a top of the range Mercedes with the money he made from the lotteries.

He bought two homes in Florida and took regular trips there with his family as he scamed two air ambulance charities out of thousands of dollars each week.

He lived a luxury lifestyle with a large home in the British countryside from which he, his wife and his two children made regular trips to watch the British football [American soccer] team Arsenal, where they all had season tickets.

He even set up his own bank account to launder the stolen cash and called it Flight for Life.

Windsor was only caught when he started entering bogus tickets in one draw in a scheme to boost his commission and make more money.

One of the forged tickets was drawn, and he picked a name out of the phone book which he claimed to be the winner.

His company ran ten air ambulance lotteries which raised millions over a decade before his swindle was uncovered.

Most of the money was handed over legitimately to the charities, although they were only guaranteed one-fifth of all the cash wagered.

By law, Windsor's company was allowed to take up to 35 percent of turnover.

Windsor, of Kerns Park, Quethiock, near Liskeard, admitted thefts from the Dorset and Somerset and Wales Air Ambulances and was jailed for three years at Plymouth Crown Court.

He asked for two offences to be considered including selling his estranged wife's Arsenal debenture for $9,000 cash by forging her signature while awaiting trial.

But Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, said Windsor had been a forceful and intimidating boss who bullied staff into taking part in the scams.

He told Windsor, "It may be you raised large amounts of money for charities but that simply makes your conduct more reprehensible.

"It demonstrates there was no need for such dishonesty, which was clearly the product of greed.

"These are very serious offences and a breach of trust placed in you by two air ambulance trusts and the theft of large sums of money paid by members of the public for their benefit.

"I cannot speculate on what effect it will have on future giving but I only hope the public will continue to support these good causes."

Prosecutor James Townsend said Windsor ran lotteries all around the country and stole money from those based in Dorset and Wales by three different means.

The lotteries had subscribers who paid by direct debit to enter $2.00 a week for weekly draw.

He was supposed to pay canvassers out of his own commission for finding new customers but instead he took the money by keeping the first 13 weeks stakes.

His Plymouth based firm was paid commission on a sliding scale by the Dorset and Somerset charity and he bought extra tickets to ensure he got paid 25 rather than 20 percent.

He was investigated after one of these one and he picked the name of a woman in Somerton, Somerset, out of the phone book and declared her the winner.

The final fiddle involved prizes of dream holidays run by a travel agent in Cornwall. The holidays cost $14,000 less than the money allocated and he used the rest to take his own family away.

"He systematically fiddled the accounts and records in order to pocket large sums of money to retain in his business and therefore for himself," Townsend said.

"When police went to his house they found $140,000 in notes and a quantity of U.S. dollars.

"It was plain he enjoyed a good lifestyle with properties in America and two relatively expensive cars."

Raymond Tully, defending, said Windsor had raised millions for charities, helped set up air ambulances across Britain, and contributed to saving lives.

He said Windsor plans to repay all the money he stole and the two charities will not be out of pocket.

Robert Edwards, 56, from Torpoint, Cornwall, who managed lotteries for Windsor, admitted false accounting and was jailed for 12 months, suspended for two years.

Millionaire Leigh Windsor stole $500,000 from two air ambulance charities he manages, and took his family on a holiday to Barbados meant to be a top lottery prize.

Daily Mail, Lottery Post Staff

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10 comments. Last comment 13 years ago by time*treat.
Page 1 of 1
Todd's avatar - Cylon 200.jpg
Chief Bottle Washer
New Jersey
United States
Member #1
May 31, 2000
26324 Posts

I gave this article a 5-star rating because I think it's a great explanation of how these independent lotteries and/or contests can be rigged behind the scenes.  I wish these things would get more attention, because the people who spent the money have no chance of winning the prize.

Also, the fact that a mere 20% of the proceeds go to the charity itself is staggering.  Even the states give 50% of the proceeds to the "worthy causes" the lottery is setup to fund!

Investigate any charity BEFORE you drop a dime on them.


Check the State Lottery Report Card
What grade did your lottery earn?


Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
Help eliminate computerized drawings!

    dphillips's avatar - littleuns
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    United States
    Member #5128
    June 18, 2004
    377 Posts

    Thanks for educating the masses.

    See Ya!-- Bye, bye!  When you win, may you glow as brightly as theSun Smiley

      Captain Lotto's avatar - CaptLotto
      Jefferson City, MO
      United States
      Member #55248
      September 20, 2007
      97 Posts

      Actually, I think most U.S. lotteries return about 30% to their causes and around 50% as prizes. 

      Captain Lotto

      "Every day is a good day!"

        ThatScaryChick's avatar - giphy11resized
        United States
        Member #56504
        November 21, 2007
        6912 Posts

        Man, people like this are scum. I wonder if he will end up just getting a slap on the wrist.

        "twitter - youtube - steam - tumblr - instagram"


          justxploring's avatar - villiarna
          Wandering Aimlessly
          United States
          Member #25359
          November 5, 2005
          4461 Posts

          Thanks, Todd.  I agree with your comment and it's unfortunate that a crime like this often affects good charities, because people get very wary and stop giving. 

          This is also why I don't understand the members who wonder why someone would hesitate to send money to a total stranger on an internet board who could be a thief, drug dealer or pedophile.  (or a rich scam artist like this guy)  This <snip> might have gotten away with it too had he not been so greedy.

          Last year a man broke into the local Salvation Army warehouse in Fort Myers and stole all of the Christmas toys, so nothing surprises me any more.

          This post has been automatically changed by the Lottery Post computer system to remove inappropriate content and/or spam.

            JackpotWanna's avatar - squiz

            United States
            Member #4121
            March 23, 2004
            817 Posts

            Not a good person.

              MillionsWanted's avatar - 24Qa6LT

              Member #9517
              December 10, 2004
              1817 Posts

              He's a low life.

                One2Adore's avatar - butterfly2
                United States
                Member #50564
                March 8, 2007
                88 Posts

                What is an "air ambulance charity"?  Air ambulance, to me, sounds like a medical helicopter.

                  tntea's avatar - Lottery-059.jpg

                  United States
                  Member #5344
                  June 30, 2004
                  23647 Posts

                  Very sad indeed.


                  People watch those jars that are put in stores to help those who are dying.

                  I have seen many of schemes like this.

                  People will come in and take the money to buy cigarettes for the dying person.  "or they say it is for the dying person."

                  One man had a jar in our store for his ill mother.   When my hubby found out about this, he laughed.  He said he knew for sure the woman was alive and well... She was heading for Tunica the past few times he saw her.  She was unaware of the jars since she doesn't smoke or drink, she had never been in the store.


                  If you want to help someone, see if there is trust at a bank to collect to pay for medical needs.  Don't put money in those jars.

                       OLD/Vtrac   Lottery Bible         Double Warnings      Thumbs Up TN F34/F44

                    time*treat's avatar - radar

                    United States
                    Member #13130
                    March 30, 2005
                    2171 Posts

                    Was this guy a millionaire before the thefts or because of the thefts? What?

                    Seems irrational for someone who's already got money.

                    In neo-conned Amerika, bank robs you.
                    Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be the name of a convenience store, not a govnoment agency.