$50-million dollar lottery winner had no idea she had won
Published Tuesday, December 3, 2013 4:55PM EST Last Updated Tuesday, December 3, 2013 6:29PM EST
A Hamilton woman is the mystery ticket holder for that $50 million dollar Lotto Max jackpot that went unclaimed for a year. Ironically, 55-year-old Kathryn Jones had no idea she had even won. It was some pretty good detective work on the part of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation that solved the mystery. And for the first time, OLG approached the winner instead of the other way around
“As you can imagine, it's been a weird and wonderful journey,” Jones said today in Toronto at a news conference hosted by the OLG.
It’s a journey that has made 55 year old Kathryn Jones Canada's newest multi-millionaire.
“To lose a ticket and then have OLG find me and take the initiative to contact me is pretty incredible.”
It started November 30 of last year with the big Lotto Max draw for $50 million dollars. Someone in Cambridge had won but months went by with no legitimate claim to it.
OLG says 435 people made inquiries about the money but the lottery corporation knew all along where and when the winning ticket had been purchased. It was a process of elimination.
While investigating one of the claims, OLG stumbled upon Kathryn Jones, an engineer from Hamilton. She had used her credit card to buy the ticket at a Shopper’s Drug Mart in Cambridge.
Mike Hamel is OLG’s Director of Corporate Investigations, “We obtained store security video which clearly shows the identified winner purchasing the winning ticket at that retail location.”
The irony is that Jones hadn't even come forward. When the lottery corporation knocked her door a couple months ago, she had no idea why.
“We weren't sure whether we wanted to let them in the house,” she laughs.
Jones hasn't got the money quite yet. There were several issues still to iron out. For one thing, OLG discovered Jones has a sister in Ottawa who owns a retail store that sells lottery tickets. An independent third party reviewed her claim, as required under OLG’s rules.
At an Ottawa lottery kiosk, there were mixed reactions to the win without a ticket.
"It's absolutely fair, it's wonderful,” says lottery player Len Wall, “and also reassuring that if I do lose a ticket, they might even find it.”
"She won it fair and square,” says Noellee Gordon, another lottery player, “she bought her own ticket.”
"She doesn't have to produce that ticket?” questions lottery player Rita, “I don't think it's right. Where did she put it?”
Jones still has no idea where that winning ticket is. No idea yet what she, her husband and two grown kids will do with the money.
“Holy mackerel, this is weird,” says Jones.
“The case of this outstanding $50 million Lotto Max jackpot is one of the most unique in OLG’s history,” said Rod Phillips, OLG’s President and CEO. “I am pleased that we are one step closer to awarding this multi-million dollar prize.”
OLG says the money will be held for at least 30 days in the odd chance there are other valid claims on the prize. Only then, Jones says, she will start thinking like a millionaire.