(Screen grab courtesy OLG website)

$6M Lotto Dispute Ongoing After Chatham Couple Breaks Up

A Chatham man has been unable to collect a $6.1-million lottery ticket prize, after his former live-in girlfriend made a claim that half the money belongs to her.

On September 28, Denise Robertson asked the Superior Court to prevent the proceeds from being distributed after her boyfriend of two-and-a-half years, Maurice Thibeault, moved out of her house on September 25.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) is currently reviewing the multi-million dollar ticket, which was bought in Chatham for the September 20 Lotto 6/49 draw.

In a sworn affidavit, Robertson says she and Thibeault have been buying lottery tickets together for almost their entire relationship.

“We always agreed that if we had a winning ticket, the proceeds would be ours, together as a couple,” she says. “Together we dreamed about winning the lotto. We both love muscle cars, we would each buy one and buy a large property in the county and build a large shop to work on our cars.”

However, despite having the winning ticket, Robertson claims Thibeault made it clear that they did not have the winning ticket for the lottery draw.

“He said words to the effect that we had no luck this time and that we will both have to keep working,” she says.

A few days later on September 25, Robertson returned home from work and was shocked to find that Thibeault had moved out.

“He had packed up and removed all of his clothes, his toiletries and most of his other personnel items and his Canadian passport,” she says. “When I look back, I recall that he did approximately 15 loads of laundry of all his clothes the night prior, and didn’t put them into the drawers and closets, as if he was preparing to pack up and leave.”

Three days later, Robertson found out from mutual friends that her former boyfriend had in fact won the lottery, and was on his way to Toronto to the OLG Prize Centre to claim the $6-million jackpot.

“The lottery ticket in question has been presented at the Prize Centre and is currently in the prize claim review process,” OLG spokesperson Tony Bitonti told BlackburnNews.com on Thursday.

Robertson also discovered that Thibeault, who worked as a fabricator and installer for a granite company, had sent his employer a photo of a winning lottery ticket for $6,146,722.  He also sent a text message which read, “Hi Kevin, as you know Denise and I are no longer together. Since I left her on Monday another life changing thing has happened. I am sad to tell you by text but I will not be coming back to work.”

“I am greatly saddened and disappointed by what has happened here,” says Robertson. “This could have been a very happy and exciting time for us a couple to do things we could only dream of doing.”

In the sworn affidavit, Robertson adds doesn’t know where Thibeault is staying, and is afraid he’ll leave the country with her half of the winnings.

“Reviewing prizes of $10,000 or more includes a mandatory in-person interview of the claimant conducted by an OLG prize claims investigator,” says Bitonti. “If the review team cannot determine who owns the ticket after the interview, then the claim is sent to OLG General Investigations for further review, which can include interviewing other individuals with relevant information about the claim.”

He says OLG reviews each prize to ensure the right payout goes to the right person or people.

You can read the full press release from Denise Robertson’s lawyer here.

-With files from Kirk Dickinson