Mother, daughter freed amid accusations they stole $3.5M ticket
A Windsor woman accused of taking her 81-year-old husband's $3.5 million winning lottery ticket and the daughter who cashed it in were released on bail in Ontario court Thursday.
Mary Patricia Moore, 59, and daughter Bobbie-Jo Arnold, 39, were arrested Wednesday for fraud over $5,000, possession of property obtained by crime, false pretenses and uttering a forged document. Arnold signed the winning ticket and claimed the April 2 Lotto 6/49 jackpot.
Justice of the peace Salma Jafar ordered that Moore can no longer live in the St. Rose Avenue home she had shared with her husband Gerald Moore. She must live with Arnold and Arnold's family in the Forest Glade home Arnold purchased with the lottery winnings.
Both women can't leave Essex County and had to surrender their passports to police.
Gerald Moore, a retired carpenter, filed a civil lawsuit against his wife of 10 years claiming she took his winning ticket off his bedside table, got her daughter to cash it in, then began divorce proceedings. He further alleges that his wife "manipulated" his heart and blood pressure medications, rendering him "physically, emotionally and psychologically incapable of appreciating the nature and consequences of the events," according to his statement of claim filed in Superior Court Sept. 16.
In the $7 million lawsuit, he is suing his wife, her two daughters and their partners, his grandson and the grandson's wife. Also named in the suit is the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission, claiming the lottery agency didn't do enough to determine the lawful owner of the winning ticket.
Superior Court Justice Terry Patterson on Sept. 19 froze the assets of the family members named in the suit, not allowing them to access their bank accounts, sell their newly purchased homes and vehicles or dispose of any other property they had obtained with the lottery money.
The justice of the peace reiterated those conditions Thursday before releasing Arnold and Moore.
Officers from the OPP's special unit working out of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario's offices in Toronto began investigating Moore and Arnold in late April after being alerted by the OLGC that Arnold's win was being challenged. It was termed a "suspicious win."
Three officers came to Windsor Wednesday and arrested Arnold in the morning. Moore was allowed to turn herself in at the OPP's Tecumseh detachment in the afternoon.
As additional terms of their release, both women were ordered not to open any bank accounts or investment accounts without permission from one of the OPP officers in the investigation. They can't buy anything worth more than $3,000 or conduct any financial transaction in excess of that amount without that same officers' prior written approval.
Both women were ordered not to communicate directly or indirectly with Gerald Moore or any of his family members. Gerald Moore was not in the courtroom Thursday, but some of his children were. His wife, Mary Patricia Moore, who goes by the name Pat, glared in their direction as she stood in the prisoner's dock.
Pat Moore and Arnold were released on $3,000 sureties each — a promise by another party the accused person will follow bail conditions and will appear in court when required.
Arnold's lawyer, Michael O'Hearn, said it will take nearly two months to go through the evidence against his client. "The Crown has informed us there are five boxes of disclosure.... That's a lot of disclosure in my opinion."
He said he has yet to see any of the evidence. "You don't know where a case like this will go."
The two women are to appear in court again Nov. 18.
Patricia Moore, 59, is being sued by her husband, Gerald Moore, 81, for allegedly stealing a winning lottery ticket. Patricia Moore is also facing criminal charges. She is seen holding lottery tickets for upcoming draws.