Story by The Spec.com
A Hamilton shop owner is a step closer to claiming his half of a $32-million lottery win after passing the first hurdle of an insider win process.
Myungsu You, who owns Cumberland Market at 108 Cumberland Ave., was one of two winners of the Lotto 6/49 prize drawn on June 30. He bought the ticket at the Metro grocery store at 1161 Barton St. E., in the former Centre Mall, and alerted OLG to his win Dec. 5.
But You could not claim his $16.1 million win right away, because he is considered an inside winner. Inside winners include people who own or work at OLG retail locations and close family of owners and workers.
The first step was an investigation led by a third party selected by the OLG’s regulator, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. Inside winners cannot buy or check their winning ticket at their OLG location.
You’s prize claim has passed this first step, said OLG spokesperson Sarah Kiriliuk.
Now his prize will be held for a 30-day waiting period as part of the second step. If there are no additional claims on the prize, he will be awarded the money March 22.
You could not be reached for comment.
His wife, who declined to give her name as she served customers at the store Thursday night, said: “I’m just worried. It’s big money.”
All winners of $10,000 and higher are interviewed prior to claiming their prize, and inside winners are flagged, Kiriliuk said.
Of the roughly 3,000 winners interviewed last year, 79 were flagged as inside winners. Kiriliuk said no prizes were withheld.
The other winning ticket for the $32-million jackpot was sold in Brantford and was claimed July 4.
The decision to put inside winners under closer scrutiny came out of an extensive review and 2007 special report from Ombudsman André Marin that found widespread fraud by retailers who were winning too many prizes.
One of the cases highlighted by Marin was that of Burlington’s Kathleen Chung, who claimed a $12.5-million jackpot. The winning ticket was validated at the Burlington store managed by her brother and where her parents worked. Police allege Chung’s father and brother stole the free play ticket in 2003 from its rightful owners after it was validated at the Burlington store.
It took seven years, but in January 2011 the seven rightful winners of that lottery ticket were paid their winnings.
Chung, her brother and father were charged with fraud and money laundering in September 2010. A preliminary hearing for the case was scheduled for November 2012.
Kiriliuk said the insider win process is intended to bring “more integrity to the lottery prize claiming process.”