EntertainmentInside the 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' fraud scandal. The participant won thanks to signals from the audience

Inside the 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' fraud scandal. The participant won thanks to signals from the audience

Charles Ingram cheated on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire"
Charles Ingram cheated on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire"
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5:14 PM EDT, October 24, 2023

The fraud of Charles Ingram in the British edition of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" is without a doubt the biggest scandal in the history of the show. In 2001, he managed to reach the question for a million pounds thanks to signals from the audience.

The case became notorious due to the series "Quiz". In Charles Ingram's production, Matthew Macfadyen plays him, his wife Diana-Sian Clifford, and the show host, Chris Tennant-Michael Sheen. Diana and her brother had previously participated in the program but were out on a question worth 32 thousand pounds. Charles Ingram, knowing he wouldn't get far without extra help, planned a scam worthy of a Hollywood movie. His wife, sitting in the audience, coughed every time the correct answer to a question was given. Tecwen Whittock, a lecturer and a friend of Mrs. Ingram's, who was also seated in the contestant's box, also coughed to assist in the scam.

Charles Ingram won a million thanks to signals from the audience

Charles was playing very chaotically, constantly changing his mind. Just when it seemed he was sure of his answer, a few minutes later he would suddenly choose a completely different option. The production team realized that Ingram was getting help from the audience, and his unnatural behavior caught the attention of one of the contestants who noticed "signals". Chris made it to the final, and they filmed him receiving a check, but after everything, he found out he had been figured out.

Celador, the show producer, suspended the payout of a million pounds and reported suspicion of fraud to the police. When a court in London found that Charles Ingram was guilty of conspiracy and attempt to defraud a million pounds, the station aired this episode of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" along with a full report describing the incident. The fraudsters did not plead guilty, and Charles was sentenced to 20 months of suspended imprisonment for two years. Diana and Tecwen received 18 months each, and financial penalties were also imposed on all.

Fraud in "Millionaires"

The creators of the series "Quiz" uncovered new threads in the case, which indicate the existence of a gang that set up programs such as "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire". A person willing to participate in the program would report to the syndicate, pay about $665 (when rounded and converted from 500 pounds), to get to the "first come, first serve" stage, and then received help during the game. The participant would share the winnings with the gang. In this way, the scammers could have cashed in even 10 percent of about $66.5 million (rounded and converted from 50 million pounds), which the production had allocated for winnings in the years 2002-2007.

Paul Smith, director of the production company Celador, issued a statement saying they were naive and believed that people would play in the spirit of competition. If it were not for the creators of the series, it would be hard to say whether the truth would have come out.

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