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A convicted rapist who claimed he had won a £2.5 million jackpot back in 2009 has been jailed for nine years after being found guilty of fraud.
Edward Putman had been accused of fraud by false representation after using a fake ticket to claim an outstanding jackpot.
The 54-year-old from Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, was in court after conspiring with friend Giles Knibbs - who was an employee in the security department at Camelot between 2004 and 2010.
The scam only came to light on 5 October 2015, when Mr Knibbs committed suicide.
During the case at St Albans Crown Court, it was heard that before he died Knibbs told friends of his conspiracy with Putman, a builder who had worked on an extension at his home.
Earlier that year, Putman had gone to the police alleging Knibbs had threatened to reveal his previous convictions for the rape of a 17-year-old girl in 1991 and a benefits fraud in 2012.
Putman also told authorities that his co-conspirator had stolen his mobile phone and damaged the wing mirror on his car.
It's understood Knibbs was angry that he didn't receive his share of the winnings.
As a result Knibbs was arrested and reportedly told former partner John Coleyshaw that he thought he was 'going down for 10 to 15 years for blackmail'.
Speaking at the trial, Mr Coleyshaw told the jury - which had not be informed of Putman's previous convictions - that his partner 'was in a bad way because he was worried by thought of going to prison. For want of a better word he had been shafted by someone he considered to be a good friend'.
Mr Coleyshaw said Knibbs told him he had been working late at Camelot and came across details of unclaimed lottery tickets dates, times and locations of sale.
The court heard that Putman came forward with the 'winning ticket' just just 10 days before the six-month deadline for claims.
When Putman made the call to Camelot to claim the prize he said he found the ticket - with the numbers 6,9,20,21, and 34 - under the seat of his van. However, it was missing its bottom part which contained unique numbers.
But Knibbs' connections in the fraud department meant the claim was verified and the builder collected the £2,525,485.
Prosecuting, James Keeley said that unidentified deposits totalling £83,440 were paid into Knibbs' bank accounts. It's understood that he then used the money to purchase a property on 9 June 2010 for £320,000.
A mortgage of £225,499 had been obtained from Barclays. Four payments were made in May 2010 totalling £106,830.
Mr Keeley said there were also cash withdrawals from Mr Putman's account saying it was reasonable to infer that at least some of the cash credits represented the partial distribution to Knibbs from the proceeds of the fraud.
But he said Knibbs was expecting to receive more money but 'came to the conclusion that the defendant was rescinding the agreement'.
In order to carry out the ambitious fraud, Knibbs created 100 tickets with the winning numbers because each ticket had a unique 'Check Sum' number made up of two digits. Putman then tried using them at 29 shops with 29 different tickets before the right number was found.
Mr Keeley said: "We now know that the defendant struck lucky at North Town Stores in High Wycombe."
However, the prosecutor said the ticket was a fake because it was printed on paper not used at the Co-op in Worcester until after the draw.
The investigation into the case struggled at the time as Camelot couldn't find the original of the forged winning ticket.
The case was only reopened in 2017 when the ticket was recovered by a Camelot employee.
As a result, in December 2016 Camelot was fined £3 million by the Gambling Commission for breaching its controls relating to databases, the way it investigated a prize claims, and it processes around the decision to pay a prize.
It's understood the fine was donated to good causes.
Throughout the trial, Putman denied that between 28 August and 8 September 2009, he had conspired with Knibbs to defraud Camelot out of £2,525,485 for himself.
During sentencing, Judge Philip Grey described the crime as a "sophisticated, carefully planned, and diligently operated fraud."
He told Putman: "You would have got away with this but quite plainly you were greedy.
"This crime struck at the integrity of the National Lottery. You have also undermined the public's trust in the lottery itself."
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