Pleaded guilty to fraud
A judge in Bolton, UK, has sentenced two jobless career criminals to prison after they pleaded guilty to fraud for attempting to claim a £4m ($5.3m) scratchcard win.
Bolton natives Mark Goodram, 38, and Jon Watson, 34, both admitted to using a stranger’s debit card details to purchase the multimillion-dollar scratchcard from a Waitrose store in South West London.
Court reporter for the Manchester Evening News network, Amy Walker, shared news of the judge’s festive quip on December 14:
Both men initially denied three counts of fraud but switched their pleas to guilty as their trial at Bolton Crown Court began. The judge, Recorder Sarah Johnston, sentenced Goodram and Watson to 19 and 18 months in prison, respectively.
Elaborate ruse, disingenuous follow-through
The serial lawbreakers initially traveled to London on April 22, 2019, to go begging. They believed the capital city’s pickings to be richer than in their Greater Manchester hometown, the court heard.
According to The Bolton News, Goodram wrote stranger Joshua Addyman’s debit card information on his hand. The court heard how he first used the details to buy goods worth £90.56 ($120.34) at a Londis store before heading to a Waitrose to buy more goods to the value of £71.78 ($95.18). The latter purchase included five £4m ($120.34) Red Game scratch cards.
the pair went on a binge in the capital
When they discovered the winning ticket, the pair went on a binge in the capital, posting pictures of themselves celebrating on social media.
The excited duo later attempted to claim the £4m jackpot by calling the UK National Lottery. The operator then confirmed that the scratchcard contained the winning numbers and that Goodram would receive the payment via a bank transfer. “Goodram explained that he did not have a bank account,” said prosecutor Denise Fitzpatrick, which immediately raised suspicion.
The next day, an investigator from National Lottery operator Camelot called Goodram back, asking about the debit card used. According to the Evening News, Goodram told the investigator the card belonged to a friend named John, who “owed him money.” Goodram, however, could not confirm ‘John’s’ surname or where he lived.
Judge has the final say
When Camelot refused to pay out the money, the fraudsters sold their story to The Sun. Camelot subsequently handed the investigation to the police. The pair then hired celebrity lawyer Henry Hendon to try to get Camelot to release the money.
The judge had the final say this week, however. “I still can’t understand on what planet, frankly, the defendants thought they were going to hoodwink a jury,” commented the judge. She also added that the real loss came in the customer who might have later lawfully purchased the winning scratch card.
“For that unidentifiable individual, fate has twisted at the last minute and deprived them of a life-changing sum of money,” Johnston admonished.