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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 August 2007, 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK
Woman admits illegal house raffle
Angela Jones
Angela Jones started the raffle after there was little interest from buyers
A woman who tried to raffle her 150,000 home has been ordered to pay nearly 8,000 compensation after she admitted breaking lottery laws.

Mold Crown Court heard Angela Jones, 36, from Prestatyn, Denbighshire, had sold tickets at 30 each.

But the ex-UN soldier unwittingly fell foul of competition legislation and failed to obtain a necessary licence.

The judge, Mr Recorder Robert Trevor Jones, said he accepted "there was no element of dishonesty."

He also sentenced Jones to a 12-month conditional discharge.

Jones, who served in Bosnia with the United Nations, was working as an estate agent when she decided to sell her three-bedroom home in Flint.

The regulations are there in order to protect the public from people who operate illegal lotteries
Mr Recorder Robert Trevor Jones

She launched the raffle in March 2006 after attracting little interest from potential buyers, and sold tickets for 30 each in the hope of raising 150,000.

The court heard she had intended to raffle the house, but failed to take legal advice and unwittingly contravened lottery legislation.

Following an investigation by the Lotteries and Gaming Commission, she changed the competition from a lottery into a raffle, but had still failed to obtain a licence from the local authority.

There were also complaints that she withdrew the house as a prize after failing to reach the target.

On Wednesday she admitted a charge contrary to the Lotteries and Amusement Act 1976, of unlawfully selling, distributing, offering or advertising lottery tickets or chances to win the house over a six week period last year.

Her barrister, John Wyn Williams, described the offence as a technical charge.

Angela Jones's house
Tickets to win the house cost 30 each

Sentencing, Mr Trevor Jones said: "Were there any suggestion in this case that you were acting dishonestly, that this was a scam, then the court would have to give serious consideration to your imprisonment.

"The regulations are there in order to protect the public from people who operate illegal lotteries. It is quite clear that for a limited period of time that you did just that.

But he said he accepted although she had not obtained a licence that there was no element of dishonesty.

Jones, a mother of two, was instructed to pay a compensation order of 7,860 after the court heard she had most of the money available.

The judge took into account her good character, plea, employment history and that she had served her country in the armed forces.

An additional 18,000 was being held in the client account of Town and Country Estate Agents at Flint, who had agreed to sell tickets on Jones's behalf. The court heard that money was available to be refunded.

An investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act will also be conducted after prosecutor Meirion Lewis-Jones said there were 1,900 tickets unaccounted for.

The missing tickets, if sold, had the potential to raise more than 50,000.

Mr Wyn Williams, defending, said funds were available to make sure those who bought tickets would not lose out.

He said Jones wanted to put the incident behind her and get on with her life.




SEE ALSO
Woman bailed over house 'raffle'
01 May 07 |  North East Wales

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