National Lottery Conman Released Early From Prison, Nine Years After Accomplice’s Suicide

  • Eddie Putman served less than 4.5 years in jail for his 2009, £2.5m lottery scam
  • Scam came to light after Putman’s accomplice Giles Knibbs committed suicide
  • A friend of Knibbs’ family expressed their distress over Putman’s early release
Person unlocking jail door
The man who conned the UK’s National Lottery out of £2.5m in 2009 is out of jail having served less than half his sentence. [Image:]

Conman tricked Camelot

UK authorities have released a conman who tricked former National Lottery operator Camelot out of a £2.5m ($3.1m) jackpot. Eddie Putman, 58, is a free man after serving less than 4.5 years of his nine-year jail sentence.

Judge Phillip Grey sentenced Putman to prison at St Albans Crown Court in 2019 after finding him guilty of fraud for the 2009 lottery scam.  

hatched up a plan to present a fake and deliberately damaged National Lottery ticket

Putman and Camelot insider Giles Knibbs hatched up a plan to present a fake and deliberately damaged National Lottery ticket to claim the 2009 jackpot. Had Putman honored his deal with Knibbs to split the cash, his lottery crime may have never come to light.

The massive fraud unravelled in 2015 when Knibbs committed suicide linked to an argument with Putman, but not before revealing to friends details of the scam for which he was supposed to receive £1m ($1.2m).

Scam falls apart

Judge Grey told Putman in 2019 that he could have gotten away with the crime were it not for his greed. “Whatever the exact monetary split you and Mr Knibbs had agreed, you did not pay him what split he felt he was owed,” Grey explained, adding: “The two of you fell out spectacularly.”

Fearing going to prison for 10-15 years for blackmail, Knibbs killed himself

The spectacular fallout peaked six years after the lottery win, when an angry Knibbs confronted Putman in June 2015, breaking the wing mirrors of his car and stealing his mobile. Putman reported the former worker in Camelot’s securities department to the police, who arrested Knibbs for theft, blackmail, and critical damage. Fearing going to prison for 10-15 years for blackmail, Knibbs killed himself.

What then came to light was the pair’s scam, in which they conspired to forge winning lottery tickets. The deceased Knibbs had claimed Putman went to 29 different lottery outlets with a different ticket, before he struck gold at a Camelot shop in High Wycombe in August 2009.

No one ever came forward to claim the real winning ticket, which was bought in Worcester, UK.

Missing money mystery

When Judge Grey sentenced Putman in 2019, he also ordered him to pay back £939,000 ($1.1m) for the Camelot scam.

What remains a mystery is what Putman did with the £3.1m, as he was sent to prison for nine months for falsely claiming £13,000 ($16.409) in housing and income support in 2012, just three years after his jackpot bonanza.

While Putman is now out of prison, he’s no stranger to time behind bars, having spent seven years inside when authorities sentenced him in 1993 for the rape of a pregnant 17-year-old.

The Daily Star on Sunday quoted a friend of Knibbs’ family, distressed by Putman’s early release, as saying: “They’ve never got to the bottom of what he did with the money. It’s horrific.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesman, however, said offenders, such as Putman “are kept under close supervision […] for the remainder of their sentence,” and face a return to prison if they breach conditions of their release.

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