Nearly one and one-half years after the fact, 10 approved winners of Ontario’s July 31, 2013, Lotto 64/9 draw have received their portion of a $7 million payout. This comes after a lengthy review process that validated most of the claims and found one fraudulent attempt to claim lotto winnings.
In July 2013, shortly after the winning numbers were announced, an Ontario woman claimed the $7 million lotto jackpot from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission (OLG). As City News Toronto reports, before OLG could pay out, it received a tip that a group, rather than an individual, had purchased the winning ticket. OLG then turned the matter over to the Investigation and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) of the Ontario Provincial Police, which performed a lengthy review of the claimants.
IEB found the original claimant, Joanne Galella, was guilty of colluding with her father, Frank Galella, to defraud the other individuals who had purchased the lotto ticket of their share of the winnings. Joanne Galella was given the winning ticket by her father, who bought it with friends and wanted his daughter to claim the $7 million for herself without sharing it with the others. Both Frank and Joanna Galella were charged with fraud over $5,000 and false pretenses over $5,000, according to City News Toronto.
Last month, OLG’s review finished and 10 of the claimants received their winnings. While Frank Galella is entitled to a share of the payout since he did participate in the ticket purchase, he has not yet made a claim, according to Niagara Falls Review. OLG is holding a share of the winnings aside in case he does do so. If he does, it will be reviewed for legitimacy before being paid out.
With the lotto winnings disbursed and the fraudulent claimants penalized, all lotto players can feel at ease that the Ontario Lotto is committed to maintaining fair gaming practices for all.