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UK pals jailed for winning £4 million in lottery using stolen debit card

Dec 17, 2021, 8:31 pm

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UK National Lottery

Their celebration didn't last very long

By Kate Northrop

Two friends from the United Kingdom had a short-lived celebration after winning £4 million (US$ 5.3 million) in the lottery using a debit card they stole.

Mark Goodram, 38, and Jon Watson, 34, both from Bolton, went wild on a four-day spending spree after discovering they won a £4 million lottery prize from a scratch-off ticket bought with a stolen debit card in 2019.

While they partied and drank for four days straight and fantasized about nothing but luxury cruises and properties, their dreams were cut short by one single question.

At the time of their discovery, Watson eagerly called Camelot, the operator of the UK National Lottery, and handed the phone off to Goodram so he could confirm the win. Following procedure, the National Lottery employee on the other end asked for their bank details so the prize money could be transferred.

Goodram must not have remembered how the pair bought their winning ticket since he revealed that they did not have a bank account to transfer the money to.

It was that slip of the tongue that raised the red flags — how could he have made a purchase using a debit card if he did not own a bank account?

Camelot investigator Stephen Long gave the duo a call the next day to inquire about the card used to buy the lottery ticket. In response, Goodram lied that it belonged to a friend named John, who supposedly "owed him money," but he was unable to confirm "John's" surname or where he lived.

The two friends were not about to give up on their winnings. They hired celebrity lawyer Henry Hendron to release the £4 million prize they thought they were owed, which was being held by Camelot until the investigation could produce an outcome.

The Lottery eventually discovered that the scratch-off ticket was bought with a stolen debit card that belonged to a man named Joshua Addiman and brought the case to the police's attention.

It was then revealed that the thieves had traveled to London in April 2019 "to beg" there since there was "more money to be made" than in their hometown. It was also there that they bought the winning lottery ticket at a Waitrose supermarket.

While there, they also bought about £90 (US$119) worth of items at a Londis convenience store in the same area, as well as four more scratch-off tickets and other items for about £72 (US$95) at the Waitrose.

According to prosecutor Denise Fitzpatrick, one of those tickets also netted the duo a £10 prize.

Both men pled guilty to three counts of fraud and were jailed for 18 months, though Goodram was in for an extra month for breaching his bail.

"There was very little prospect of success, but that is due to the rigorous checks of Camelot rather than anything done by the defendants," Fitzpatrick said, calling the case "very unusual."

Both men were arrested and interviewed in March 2020, but Goodram committed two more offenses while on bail and failed to show up at a court hearing. He was arrested again on Dec. 6.

According to court proceedings, Goodram attempted to hide behind a couch when officers entered the house he was in.

Fitzpatrick told the court that both offenders have "extensive criminal records for dishonesty." Goodram has 24 convictions for 48 offenses on his record and Watson has 74 convictions for 143 offenses.

Goodram also has a "long-standing addiction to drugs and alcohol" and is "essentially homeless," defense attorney Robin Kitching said.

"This was fantasy money... almost Monopoly money," Nick Ross, Watson's lawyer, noted. "When that figure popped up they were in total disbelief."

When their story first broke in the news and made headlines, the duo found themselves on the receiving end of ridicule rather than the support they expected to receive. Ross argued that Watson "had enough of crime" after this "turning point," referencing the one-year-old son he had to take care of.

"You must have thought all your Christmases had come at once," Recorder Sarah Johnston said while handing out the fraudsters' sentence. "Camelot were instinctively and instantly suspicious of the tale you told. You had the audacity to plead your sense of injustice in the national newspapers, subsequent to the fraud being uncovered, you acting together throughout."

Johnston also added a good point —  in committing the theft and fraud, they stole an opportunity to win a lifechanging lottery prize from the next innocent lottery player who could have picked that winning ticket.

"The intended loss was not of Camelot," Johnston continued. "It wasn't to Mr. Addiman. The loss was to the next rightful, law-abiding customer who was to go into that Waitrose store in Clapham and purchase that scratch card. For that unidentifiable individual, fate has twisted at the last minute and deprived them of a lifechanging sum of money."

To wrap up the sentencing, she finished by saying that she had no doubt the two friends would continue their malicious acts in the future, citing their "appalling records for dishonesty and theft."

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