An Ontario man has been awarded half of a disputed $6.1-million lottery jackpot and the remaining amount remains in legal limbo.
In September, Maurice Thibeault found out he was the winner of the Lotto 6-49 prize, which he allegedly was supposed to share with his live-in girlfriend.
But instead, he packed up his belongings and moved out — taking the winning $6.1-million ticket with him.
Once his former girlfriend, Tanya Robertson, found out, she alerted the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG) and received an emergency court injunction to suspend the prize.
The prize has been under review since then.
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On Tuesday, the OLG said after reviewing the prize claim, it verified that the “ticket in question was purchased by Maurice Thibeault and will proceed to pay him one-half of the prize on or about December 30, 2017.”
“The other half of the prize, which is in dispute, will be paid into court in 45 days unless the parties resolve the matter privately or choose to take part in the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario’s lottery dispute arbitration process,” the OLG said in a statement.
Steven Pickard, Robertson’s lawyer, said if an agreement is not reached between the two, then a judge will have to determine who will get the remaining half.
“The only two options are to come to an agreement or to commence a lawsuit,” he said. “An agreement hasn’t been made yet.”
Robertson said she and Thibeault were living together since 2015 in Chatham, Ont., and routinely bought Lotto 6-49 tickets. She said they both agreed if they won, the prize would be theirs as a couple.
On Sept. 20, Thibeault bought a lottery ticket that won half the $12-million jackpot, but he told her they didn’t win. Five days later, Robertson said he packed up and moved out of their home without telling her.
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He then quit his job and tried to claim the cash. But Robertson quickly hired lawyers who were able to get a court injunction to freeze the payout.