Health complications have delayed hundreds of refunds by the engineer of an unsuccessful Millarville home giveaway contest, says the woman’s lawyer.
Complaints were made about the refund process, which sparked an investigation by the RCMP, but investigators determined “amends” are being made, albeit slowly.
The contest, named “Write a Letter, Win a House”, took place last year where entrants were asked to pen a letter about why moving to the southwestern hamlet of Millarville would change their life and submit a $25 entrance fee.
Homeowner Alla Wagner only received a fraction of the 60,000 entries she was hoping for and called off the competition last July.
Wagner declined to speak with Postmedia citing poor health and instead sent a statement from her lawyer.
“Ms. Wagner only received approximately 4,000 entries. After the (contest) was cancelled, Ms. Wagner immediately started issuing refunds, less applicable bank and postage fees, to contestants,” said a statement from Wagner’s legal counsel.
“In January 2020, Ms. Wagner was admitted to the hospital due to health complications. Ms. Wagner underwent numerous medical tests, including an MRI. As a result of the health complications, Ms. Wagner has been delayed in issuing the refunds.”
The contest does not fall under the purview of Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC), which oversees gaming-related activities in the province. The AGLC contacted the RCMP in March about possible fraud-related activity linked to the competition.
RCMP Cpl. Ron Bumbry said Mounties investigated the incident but no charges were laid.
“The matter has been deemed by us as civil in nature because of how the contest was set up,” said Bumbry. “We believe that amends were being made when we were investigating due to talking to people who received refunds.”
Investigators would only re-open the investigation if additional complaints were made. However, Bumbry said it would likely be a civil, rather than criminal, matter because of the nature of the contest.
Wagner said refunds are ongoing.
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