US & Canada

Canada couple fights over $5m lotto jackpot

Lotto649 ticket Image copyright Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation

All may be fair in love and war, but love and money? That's up for the courts to decide.

A Canadian couple is heading to court after a winning lottery ticket drove a C$6m ($5m, £4m) wedge between them.

Denise Robertson got a court injunction on 28 September to prevent her ex, Maurice Thibeault, from cashing-in.

Mr Thibeault had moved from their shared apartment in Chatham, Ontario just five days after winning part of the 20 September jackpot.

The dispute was first reported by the Toronto Star on Thursday.

The couple had been living together for two-and-a-half years, according to an affidavit sworn by Ms Robertson and provided to the BBC.

"Maurice and I have been buying Lotto 649 tickets together for almost our entire relationship. Sometimes he would purchase the tickets and sometimes I would. Sometimes I would give him money and he would buy the tickets when he went to pick up cigarettes," she said in the affidavit.

"We always agreed that if we had a winning ticket, the proceeds would be ours, together as a couple."

Mr Thibeault was one of two winners of the Lotto 649 draw worth $12m total, but when Ms Robertson asked him if he had won, she says he denied it, the affidavit claims.

Days later, on 25 September, Ms Robertson says she came home to find that all of Mr Thibeault's belongings were gone and that he had quit his job.

"When I look back, I recall that he did approximately 15 loads of laundry of all his clothes the night prior, and didn't put them into the drawers and closets, as if he was preparing to pack up and leave," Ms Robertson said in the affidavit.

Sources close to Mr Thibeault told the Star that he had been planning on leaving her for months, and the lottery gave him the means to do so. They said he is "laying low" in an undisclosed location until the this issue is sorted out.

In Ontario, the province where the couple lives, the length one must live with a partner to be considered common-law varies on what type of application one is filing.

An application for spousal support requires that the couple live together for three years, but Ms Robertson is arguing that since they had a prior agreement to share all lotto winnings, she is entitled to her share of the ticket.

Related Topics

More on this story