Ingram facing prison over 'Millionaire' cheat fines

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The Major who cheated on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Charles Ingram, faces jail after judges refused him permission to appeal against his conviction for deception yesterday.

Ingram has been fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs for "securing the execution of a valuable security by deception" for cheating on the show but says he has personal debts of £300,000.

He now faces the prospect of nine months in prison if he defaults on payment, which is due in three months.

Speaking after judges stopped him mounting an appeal, Ingram said: "It is going to be very difficult for us."

However, the judges allowed an appeal by Ingram's wife, Diana, against her identical fine and costs bill. "I'm delighted for Diana, I think it is very fair for her," Ingram added.

Charles and Diana Ingram and Tecwen Whittock, a lecturer, were all found guilty last year of hatching the plot in which Whittock coughed to indicate the correct answers.

Mr Justice Andrew Smith, delivering the Appeal Court ruling yesterday, said Diana Ingram was entitled to have the fine and costs bill set aside as she had no independent financial means. But he ruled Ingram's challenge was "not justified".

The couple had also both been given 18-month suspended jail sentences, which were not under challenge at the appeal hearing.

Whittock, who took no part in the appeal, received a 12-month suspended sentence and a £10,000 fine for his involvement in the plot.