Man who forged winning ticket has yet to pay back a single cent
By Kate Northrop
A con artist who scammed the UK National Lottery of £2.5 million (US$3.06 million) by forging a winning ticket has been handed a wider window to pay back the funds he owes.
Edward Putman, 56, who is also a convicted rapist, was given three months to pay back £939,782.44 (US$1,149,405.61) at a crime hearing in January. After failing to meet his obligation, he should have had to serve six more years in prison in addition to the nine-year term he was already sentenced to.
According to a document released under the Freedom of Information Act, "to date the full confiscation order amount of £939,782.44 is outstanding."
On Friday, Putman was awarded a three-month extension to pay back the funds. Prosecutors said they would consider "a range of options" after the deadline passes, the Mirror reported.
Putman conned the UK National Lottery in 2009 using a fake ticket forged by Giles Knibbs, who was an employee in Camelot's fraud detection unit. Just a few days before the ticket was set to expire, Putman called Camelot to kick off the claims process, saying he was "having palpitations."
Although the crumpled lottery ticket's security features, including the barcode, were ripped off the bottom half of the ticket, the National Lottery still paid it out.
The con was unveiled when Knibbs killed himself and left behind notes that implicated Putman.
"It's devastating that Putman has yet to pay up — there's no way he should be allowed to get away with it," a friend of Knibbs told the Mirror. "My fear is that when he is released, he may well have access to millions more stashed away."
Putman reportedly still owns a property worth £700,000 (US$856,138.50). Prior to pulling off the scam, Putman may have paid Knibbs a sum of £280,000 (US$342,455) and then afterwards in smaller increments of £50,000 (US$61,153).
The conman was jailed for nine years for raping a teenager in the 1990s. Following his release and upon collecting the unrightful prize, he could be seen going on spending sprees with his girlfriend Lita Stephens and buying up luxury cars left and right. The couple's friends said they had a pension for travel, embarking on first-class trips around the world and supposedly owning properties in Florida and Malta.
He avoided the limelight and strayed from public view, but his shady dealings came to light in 2012 when he fraudulently claimed £13,000 (US$15,899.72) in housing and income support. The slip-up landed him back in jail for nine months.
At his hearing, he claimed he was a "genuine winner," but a spat between the co-conspirators involving Knibbs damaging one of Putman's cars in 2015 revealed that Knibbs was bitter over not getting his "fair share." Putman called the police on Knibbs, and he was arrested.
Knibbs killed himself months later, but not before telling friends about the lottery scam he concocted with his former colleague. Putman was handed a nine-year prison sentence in 2019, where judge Philip Grey said to him: "Whatever the exact monetary split you and Mr. Knibbs had agreed, you did not pay him what split he felt he was owed... You struck at the integrity of the national lottery."
Despite collecting a £2.5 million prize, Putman was ordered to pay just under a million. The Gambling Commission fined Camelot £3 million (US$3.67 million) for paying out the fraudulent claim.