Robert "Bob" Edmonds (1924 — April 2, 2007 in Coboconk, Ontario) was a Canadian man who was defrauded out of his lottery winnings in 2001 when an employee of the convenience store where he had checked his ticket told him that he won only a free ticket, and kept the winning ticket for herself.
Edmonds was a resident of Coboconk, Ontario. He had worked as a draughtsman for Ontario Hydro for 35 years, and played the lottery since it began. On July 27, 2001, he arrived at the Coby Milk & Variety in Coboconk to check the outcome of a Super 7 with Encore ticket he had bought two weeks earlier with his regular numbers. He heard the winning musical jingle sound twice, indicating he had won two separate prizes: in fact he had won a free ticket and $250,000. However, the clerk, Phyllis LaPlante, gave him only the free ticket he had won. After contacting Edmonds later to determine his playing patterns, LaPlante was able to successfully cash his winning ticket.
Edmonds contacted the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and the Ontario Provincial Police to report the theft; ultimately, he launched a lawsuit against the OLG and Phyllis LaPlante after the OLG took no action on his complaints. On March 17, 2005, he settled out-of-court with OLG and LaPlante, but was bound by a non-disclosure agreement to not divulge any of the details of his case. In early 2006 producers Harvey Cashore and Linda Guerriero from the Canadian investigative documentary show, The fifth estate began researching Edmonds' story. The OLG threatened to sue Edmonds if he discussed his case, even matters already in the public domain. Edmonds brought a court application in the Fall of 2006 for an order releasing him from the non-disclosure agreement. On the eve of the hearing the OLG backed down and issued a press release releasing him from the agreement and freeing him to speak publicly about how he had been treated.
Press coverage and reaction
On October 25, 2006 the Fifth Estate aired a special exposé on "insider lottery wins", focusing on Edmonds. The details of the story, particularly the OLG's response and the fact that Edmonds remained bound by confidentiality restrictions, ignited a storm of negative press coverage and caused a public relations disaster for the OLG. Several weeks after the story, OLG president Duncan Brown personally apologized to Edmonds.
Coupled with the other revelations of the story, this led to an official investigation of the OLG by Ontario's ombudsman André Marin. His critical report led to the dismissal on March 23, 2007, of OLG's president Duncan Brown. Following Marin's report, the OPP also launched an inquiry.
Following Brown's dismissal, OLG issued a formal apology and awarded him his legal fees on March 30, 2007. He had heard the letter of apology read to him before the time of his death from cancer on April 2, but did not live to see the official letter.
- "If you're honest, there's no guarantee that people are going to believe you, but if you get into some kind of a problem, and you're not honest, boy you bury yourself: you get deeper and deeper in trouble, and you can tell the whole world that you're honest, and nobody will believe you."
- "Luck of the Draw". the fifth estate. 2006-10-25. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
- "Lottery agency's close ties to retailers 'fatal flaw': report". CBC News. 2007-03-26. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
- Urquhart, Ian (2007-04-02). "'Gotcha' politics at its worst". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
- "Police open probe of fraudulent Ontario lottery wins". CBC News. 2007-03-27. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
- "Lottery fraud victim questions Ontario's ignorance of troubles". CBC News. 2007-03-28. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
- Howlett, Karen; Kari, Shannon (2007-03-27). "Cabinet minister faces calls to resign over lottery". Toronto: Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
- "Man who sparked probe of Ontario lottery agency dies". CBC News. 2007-04-02. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
- "Man who sparked probe into lottery fraud dies at 83". Toronto: Globe and Mail. 2007-04-03. Retrieved 2007-04-03.