A conman has been jailed for nine years for fraud after he conspired with an industry insider to cash in a fake National Lottery ticket and take home the £2.5 million jackpot.
Edward Putman used a forged card to claim the top prize back in 2009, having plotted the "sophisticated and carefully planned" scam with friend and employee of lottery operator Camelot, Giles Knibbs.
The 54-year-old builder and his co-conspirator submitted a deliberately damaged counterfeit ticket just before the 180-day limit to claim prizes drew to a close.
Mr Knibbs had seen documents containing details of big wins which had not yet been claimed and the pair then used “some trial and error” in producing forged tickets that could be successful.
The fraud unravelled after Mr Knibbs confessed to friends that he had “conned” the Lottery before taking his own life after an angry row about how the winnings were divided.
He said he had agreed a £1 million share of his former business partener's prize for his part in the scheme. However, evidence suggested Putman initially paid his former business partner £280,000 followed by a further £50,000.
Passing sentence at St Alban's Crown Court, judge Philip Grey said the "sophisticated, carefully planned, and diligently operated fraud" struck at the heart of the integrity of the National Lottery.
He said: "You would have got away with this but quite plainly you were greedy."
The genuine winning ticket, which was bought in Worcester, has never been discovered.
In 2012, Putman, who is a convicted rapist, was later convicted of benefit fraud after going on to claim £13,000 in housing and income support after he was made a millionaire.