Windsor

Man claims $3M half of lotto prize, while ex-girlfriend fights for other half

A smiling Maurice Thibeault of Leamington, Ont., picked up a $3-million cheque Thursday from the OLG Prize Centre in Toronto, while the remainder of the prize is being disputed by his ex-girlfriend who argues the money belongs to her.

'Together we dreamed about winning the lotto,' Denise Robertson says in court documents

Maurice Thibeault has claimed his $3-million half of a lottery jackpot, while the remainder of the prize is in dispute. (OLG)

A smiling Maurice Thibeault of Leamington, Ont., picked up a $3-million cheque Thursday from the OLG Prize Centre in Toronto, while the remainder of the prize is being disputed by his ex-girlfriend who argues the money belongs to her.

Thibeault had the winning ticket for the Sept. 20 Lotto 6/49 prize of more than $6.1 million.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has verified Thibeault purchased the ticket, which isn't being disputed by ex-girlfriend Denise Robertson.

Couple dreamed of winning big

The conflict arises from Robertson's claim that the couple purchased tickets together for years. She lived with Thibeault at the time he bought the ticket.

Maurice Thibeault allegedly sent this picture of a winning $6.1-million lottery ticket to his boss telling him he was quitting. Denise Robertson entered the picture as an exhibit in her court injunction asking for the payout to be halted. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

The Chatham, Ont., woman said Thibeault moved out and left her after finding out he had the ticket that would pay out $6million, according to court documents.

Robertson filed a court injunction to stop Thibeault from claiming the winnings.

Cash will be held by courts

It appears to have worked, as the OLG will pay the other half to the Superior Court, which will hold onto it pending the outcome of litigation. The matter could still be decided privately or the pair could choose to use the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario's lottery dispute arbitration process.

"OLG's prize claim review process is in place to ensure OLG pays the right prize to the right person. OLG is committed to protecting customers and maintaining the fairness and integrity of lottery games in the Province of Ontario," OLG spokesperson Tony Bitonti said in a news release.

The winning ticket was purchased at Lucky 7 Variety on McNaughton Avenue in Chatham.

"Together we dreamed about winning the lotto," Robertson said in a sworn affidavit. "We both love muscle cars, we would each buy one and buy a large property in the country and build a large shop to work on our cars."

Robertson also entered screen shots of text messages between her and Thibeault as evidence he knew about the winning ticket. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

According to transcripts of text messages filed with the court, Robertson excitedly messaged Thibeault about the possibility they might be millionaires after learning one of the winning tickets for the draw had been purchased in Chatham. 

"Did you buy a 649 tix for last night?" she wrote. When Thibeault replied that he had, she begged him to check the numbers. "I'll start planning the floor plan for the house," she texted.

But when he got home, Robertson said Thibeault "made it clear" they did not win, according to the documents. 

The couple had lived together for 2½ years and had been buying tickets together for "almost their entire relationship," according to Robertson's affidavit.

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