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Broke lottery winner turned to theft

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: Broke lottery winner turned to theft

A lottery winner who stole more than £10,000 in an effort to buy back her popularity has been jailed for 12 months.

Ballymena Crown Court sitting in Belfast heard that 44-year-old Ruth Muriel McLaughlin, from Wheatfield Park in Ballybogey, near Ballymoney, turned to theft after frittering away her 1996 £85,000 winnings on "fair weather friends".

Prosecution lawyer Neil Connor told the court that as well as "completely clearing" the till of bank notes on at least two occasions, McLaughlin was also stealing up to two National Lottery scratchcards per week.

He said that McLaughlin had been working in Portrush Filling Station as a checkout assistant for Ms Geraldine Boreland who had been her friend for more than 30 years.

The lawyer said that over a 15-month period between November 2001 and February 2003, McLaughlin had pocketed a total of £10,878.

Mr Connor revealed that Ms Boreland had first approached the police in March last year to make allegations that McLaughlin had "been stealing various items".

He said that one method McLaughlin used was through the Pay Point system, through which customers could pay their Housing Executive Rent, their electricity bills or top up their mobile phone.

However, instead of putting the cash in the till to cover the transaction, she pocketed the money, a sum totalling just over £1,000.

Mr Connor said that McLaughlin was arrested and interviewed about the thefts in March last year but during police questioning, only made "limited admissions", adding that she has 24 previous convictions for obtaining property by deception.

McLaughlin, whose previous convictions relate to false income support benefits, pleaded guilty to 17 counts of theft.

Defence lawyer Francis Rafferty said the large Lottery windfall had brought McLaughlin "something she had lacked all her adult and indeed youthful life...she found herself to be popular", adding that the only reason for that was because "when she went out, she was the one picking up the tab".

Belfast Telegraph

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8 comments. Last comment 12 years ago by CASH Only.
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DoctorEw220's avatar - alien helmet.jpg
Yinzer Country, PA
United States
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March 18, 2004
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Posted: September 27, 2004, 11:57 pm - IP Logged

it's a real shame that this lady didn't know who her real friends were, she stole, AND she spent her money quickly.

I've redone my website.  Go to www.dr-ew.com.  I kept a lot of the old stuff, and I've added some new stuff.  Look for more new stuff in the coming weeks.


    United States
    Member #379
    June 5, 2002
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    Posted: October 8, 2004, 3:44 pm - IP Logged

    Friends don't let friends steal.

      DoctorEw220's avatar - alien helmet.jpg
      Yinzer Country, PA
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      Posted: October 11, 2004, 1:41 am - IP Logged

      exactly.  real friends look out for you, not just your money.

      I've redone my website.  Go to www.dr-ew.com.  I kept a lot of the old stuff, and I've added some new stuff.  Look for more new stuff in the coming weeks.


        United States
        Member #379
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        Posted: October 13, 2004, 5:40 pm - IP Logged

        Friends also don't let friends choose annuity, or play Unlucky for Life.

          DoctorEw220's avatar - alien helmet.jpg
          Yinzer Country, PA
          United States
          Member #4067
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          Posted: October 26, 2004, 10:56 pm - IP Logged

          well who didn't see that coming?

          I've redone my website.  Go to www.dr-ew.com.  I kept a lot of the old stuff, and I've added some new stuff.  Look for more new stuff in the coming weeks.


            United States
            Member #379
            June 5, 2002
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            Posted: October 27, 2004, 4:25 pm - IP Logged

            I didn't.

              DoctorEw220's avatar - alien helmet.jpg
              Yinzer Country, PA
              United States
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              March 18, 2004
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              Posted: October 27, 2004, 11:13 pm - IP Logged

              no. i meant your comment.

              I've redone my website.  Go to www.dr-ew.com.  I kept a lot of the old stuff, and I've added some new stuff.  Look for more new stuff in the coming weeks.


                United States
                Member #379
                June 5, 2002
                11296 Posts
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                Posted: October 28, 2004, 5:42 pm - IP Logged

                Oh.