The mystery has deepened over who won a $50-million lottery in B.C., with a Burnaby woman making claims that one of her co-workers and the administrator of a workplace lottery pool fraudulently obtained the winning ticket.
Gayleen Rose Elliott, an employee at Shoppers Drug Mart, claims Dalbir Sidhu, a fellow employee and the man who ran the workplace lottery pool, is in possession of the winning ticket from the March 14 draw, the jackpot from which remains unclaimed.
In a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court, Elliott says that after the draw, she asked Sidhu about the status of the poolâ€™s tickets and was initially told heâ€™d bought them at an Esso gas station on 152nd Street in Surrey.
She says she asked him to produce the validated tickets for the other members of the pool and was told they were â€œin the boxâ€ where past lottery tickets were stored.
But she says she searched the box and found no validated tickets for March 14, then contacted lottery officials, who said the poolâ€™s specified numbers for the draw were never sold.
In an email to members of the pool dated Nov. 23, Sidhu said that he forgot to buy the March 14 tickets because of an inadvertent recording error on his part and prior family engagements, Elliott says.
â€œAt all material times, the defendant has been in fraudulent possession of and has knowingly converted the March 14, 2014, tickets, one of which is the winning Quick Pick lottery ticket, for his own benefit and without the poolâ€™s permission.â€
Lottery officials say the winning ticket was sold in Langley.
Elliott says that in 2012, she, Sidhu and a number of other employees at the drugstore entered into a contract to form an informal weekly lottery pool, with each member of the pool chipping in $5 a week to play the B.C. Lottery Corporationâ€™s Lotto Max and, occasionally, Lotto 6/49.
A term of the contract was that eight members of the pool would specify a set of seven numbers each for the weekly Lotto Max and four members would request a Quick Pick, her lawsuit says. The pool members trusted Sidhu to administer the pool by recording membersâ€™ weekly payments, buying the tickets and validating the tickets each week to determine their status, she says.
Reached by phone Tuesday at her workplace in Coquitlamâ€™s Burquitlam Plaza, Elliott declined to comment on the lawsuit.
â€œIâ€™m at work and really I donâ€™t have any comments about it. Itâ€™s a stressful situation and Iâ€™d appreciate you not calling me at work about it.â€
She said Sidhu was not at the store.
Asked whether he still works at the store, she said: â€œLike I said, I have no comment.â€
Elliott, whose lawsuit claims the winning ticket was worth $52 million, is seeking a court declaration that she is entitled to judgment against Sidhu in the amount of $52 million, plus interest, in addition to unspecified damages for fraud and breach of contract.
She also wants an order that the $52 million plus any accumulated interest be held in trust by her lawyer until the entitlement, if any, of each of the pool members has been determined.
Sidhu, who could not be reached, has 21 days to file a response to the lawsuit, which contains allegations that have not been proven in court.
The lottery corporation has said the winner has a year from the draw date to claim the jackpot.
– Keith Fraser is a reporter with the Vancouver Province