Old debt catches up with lottery winner

Nov. 30, 2011 at 9:56 AM

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- A Canadian man who won a $1 million lottery prize has learned insurance companies have long memories about outstanding damages debt.

Farrell Lavallee won his big prize with a scratch-off lottery ticket in Winnipeg, Manitoba, at the end of July, the Winnipeg Free Press reported.

By law, the Western Canada Lottery Corporation published the names and photos of big winners, and that ended up costing Lavallee some of his winnings based on two convictions for car crashes in 2000 and 2001.

All car insurance in the province is administered by Manitoba Public Insurance, one of whose employees noticed Lavallee's name on the winner's list.

For the two accidents caused, he originally owed $31,419 which grew at 3 percent interest over the years to more than $41,000, the report said.

The insurer got a court order to access his bank account and recovered its damages.

Ironically, Lavallee, who has a long criminal record and has spent years in jail, won his cash on a game called Set for Life.

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