This summer Ontario police officers examined a suspicious claim for a jackpot worth CA$70 million from a Lotto Max draw, which led to charges for a North Bay woman. The culprit was charged with attempting to defraud the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. However recent reports confirmed that she has now missed her court date.
Based on suspicions of the OLG Corporate Investigations, on July 17, 2023, members of the Investigation and Enforcement Bureau attached to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario started an investigation. It was in relation to the circumstances regarding a ticket submitted in an attempt to claim a Lotto Max prize worth CA$70 million.
Missing Scheduled Court Appearance
In a press release, the Ontario Provincial Police shed more light on the case. It revealed that a bench warrant was issued for Sonya Deering, a 33-year-old from North Bay who allegedly tried to defraud the OLG of CA$70,000,000. However, court documents show that Ms. Deering did not appear and was not represented in the Ontario Court of Justice on September 5, 2023.
It should be explained that a bench warrant issued by a judge or justice of the peace allows the police authorities to detain a person who has failed to appear in criminal court. The warrant also allows the subject to remain in custody until they appear in court. The defendant Ms. Deering was released from custody in August but still did not appear in court.
Shortly after the opening of the investigation into the shady lottery claim, on August 9, 2023, the OPP Investigation and Enforcement Bureau reported that it had laid charges against Ms. Deering for falsely attempting to claim the lottery windfall. The investigation resulted in Criminal Code charges, as she received attempted fraud of over CA$5,000, forgery, and uttering of a forged document.
It should be noted that neither the Crown agency nor the police have confirmed that the false claim made by the woman has been in connection to the unclaimed CA$70-million Lotto Max prize sold on June 28, 2022. OPP’s Bill Dickson said he cannot confirm if that was the case, as anything that specific will become evidence in court.
Similar Cases in Ontario
In September, Canada heard about another gambling-related fraud. A Quebec court ruled that the 45-year-old Yuan Wang has been served a suspended sentence and probation for three years over charges of a number of scams. She was allegedly involved in a series of schemes at several gambling halls in Ontario and Quebec in the summer of 2018.
But that is not all lottery-related crime as in September the Peel Regional Police uncovered a lottery scam run by a Brampton man. As per the police, he started the frauds that occurred over the course of several years and started in November 2020. The suspect contacted the victims and then requested for them to pay the taxes on winnings they had not actually won. He faces criminal charges in court.
Source: “Northern woman accused of trying to falsely claim $70M lotto prize skips court date” Timmins Today, October 4, 2023