Lottery 'winner' jailed for swindle

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The Independent Online
A chauffeur described as a Walter Mitty character was jailed for a year yesterday for dishonestly trying to claim a share of the National Lottery's first jackpot of nearly pounds 6m.

Knightsbridge Crown Court in central London was told that James Madel had walked into the organiser Camelot's London offices on 21 November last year, amid a blaze of publicity, and handed officials a ticket he claimed had been ripped up by his dog but which nevertheless entitled him to pounds 839,254.

Passing sentence yesterday, Suzanna Woollam, the assistant recorder, told the 25-year-old driver that he had been convicted of a carefully planned if inept attempt to dupe the National Lottery into handing over what was a very large sum of money.

She said Madel, of Fulham, south-west London - who was convicted last month - had a history of previous convictions for dishonesty. Not only had prison sentences failed to make him change his ways, but just four months after being released on licence from a three-year jail sentence he was trying to swindle the National Lottery.

She went on: "Just because the National Lottery is in the business of handing out money to winners that doesn't mean it is fair game to any fraudster to try and outwit its security systems. What you did was take a dishonest gamble and everybody must know that such behaviour will attract a prison sentence."