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Frenchwoman spends big after (thinking) she won lottery

Thinking she had won big in the EuroMillions lottery, a 46-year-old Frenchwoman did what just about anyone would do - she started spending the jackpot immediately.

Frenchwoman spends big after (thinking) she won lottery
Photo: AFP

The only problem was that she hadn’t taken the time to check the winning numbers carefully enough.

And low and behold they didn't actually match her ticket.

Over the course of three weeks in February and March 2014, the woman issued a series of cheques to fund shopping sprees in the area, including perfumes, clothes and ornaments as she celebrated her win. Her spending quickly hit €4,000 before her family became a little bit concerned.

As the purchases piled up, she didn’t receive any contact from the Euro Millions and her family began to worry. Eventually, the woman’s husband dropped the bombshell by pointing out that she hadn’t had the right numbers.

The woman, a mother living in the Doubs département in eastern France, faced charges of fraud this week for all the cheques that bounced during her shopping spree, l'Est Republicain reports.

Once she realized the winnings weren't on the way, the woman rather than owning up to the gaffe dug a deeper hole for herself by inventing a story that her handbag had been stolen in order to avoid having to pay back the cash.

She went as far as burning the bag so that it wouldn’t be discovered, but failed to take into account the evidence of her spending, including CCTV footage.

Having initially denied fraud, the woman tearfully admitted the charges this week. The shop-owners had contacted her to suggest payment in installments, but she has still not refunded them. “I was too afraid and ashamed,” she said, according to l'Est Republicain. “But I'll do it.”

The Besançon court handed her a four month suspended sentence with an obligation to work and to pay back the money owed.

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ENERGY

France offers grants up to €1,500 to replace oil-fired boilers

Financial aid of up to €1,500 is temporarily available to households looking to replace oil-fired boilers with a more environmentally friendly heating systems. 

France offers grants up to €1,500 to replace oil-fired boilers

The temporary ‘coup de boost’ aims to encourage households to replace their oil-fired heating systems (chauffauge au fioul) and is in addition to the ‘coup de pouce chauffage’ (heating helping hand) scheme that is already underway to help under the energy saving certificates scheme (CEE).

All households that are primary residences – this aid is not available to second-home owners – equipped with an oil-fired boiler can benefit, with the amount for which they are eligible means-tested according to household resources and the replacement system chosen. 

Households with modest incomes benefit from a higher premium.

To benefit from the new temporary bonus, households must replace their individual oil-fired boiler with a more environmentally friendly heating system:

  • heat pump (air/water or hybrid);
  • combined solar system;
  • biomass boiler (wood or pellets);
  • connection to a heating network supplied mainly by renewable or recovered energy.

The total amount of financial help from the two schemes is €4,000 to €5,000 for low-income households; and from €2,500 to €4,000 for middle and high-income households.

For the connection of an individual house to a heating network, the amount of the bonus increases from €700 to €1,000 for low-income households; and from €450 to €900 for middle and high income households.

Estimates for the replacement of an oil-fired boiler must be accepted between October 29th, 2022, and June 30th, 2023, and work must be completed by December 31st, 2023.

The Coup de boost fioul aid can also be combined with MaPrimeRénov to replace an oil-fired boiler, meaning the least well-off households in France can benefit from aid of up to €16,000 to replace an oil-fired boiler with a pellet boiler or a combined solar system.

Since mid-April 2022, MaPrimeRénov’ financial aid has increased by an additional €1,000 for the installation of a renewable energy boiler. This can now reach €11,000 for the most efficient boilers (pellet boiler, combined solar system) and for households with modest incomes.

It must be noted that the installation of a very high energy performance gas boiler will no longer be eligible for MaPrimeRénov’ as of January 1st, 2023.

Find more details on the scheme HERE.

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