• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Charles Ingram, ‘Coughing Major’ who cheated on ‘Who Wants to Be A Millionaire’ show now lives quiet life

Charles Ingram, ‘Coughing Major’ who cheated on ‘Who Wants to Be A Millionaire’ show now lives quiet life

Charles Ingram, a British Army major and avid fan of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” made headlines for all the wrong reasons when he devised a cunning scheme to cheat his way to a $1 million prize on the popular TV show.

Ingram’s strategy was as simple as it was smart. Despite facing increasingly difficult questions, he consistently selected the correct answers, often appearing to guess or randomly choose.

He succeeded until he reached the coveted $1 million question, clinching the prize. Then, the producers reviewed recordings of the episode.

They noticed a peculiar pattern, Ingram meticulously read all possible answers two to three times before making his selection. It soon became clear: he wasn’t acting alone.

Ingram’s wife and a few friends were strategically placed in the audience, ready to cough discreetly when he read the correct answer aloud. This covert signalling allowed him to cheat his way to victory.

Despite initially being informed of his win, Ingram never received his prize money. Instead, he faced a 20-month suspended prison sentence for fraud, marking a dramatic downfall for the once-celebrated contestant.

Read also: Meet top 7 exceptional personalities who became millionaires as teenagers

During the trial, jurors heard Ingram claim the show’s video tape was “unfairly manipulated” and learned 192 coughs were recorded during the second night, 32 from Fastest Finger First contestants, with 19 considered “significant.” Whittock, a contestant and college lecturer from Cardiff, was identified as the source of the coughs, attributed to his long-standing respiratory conditions.

All three were convicted of procuring valuable security by deception. Major Charles and his wife Diana received suspended 18-month prison sentences, while Whittock received a12 month sentence suspended for two years.

After his sentencing, the Army Board forced Charles Ingram to resign as a major after 17 years of service. Despite this, he continued to appear and compete in reality shows but eventually stepped out of the limelight with his wife Diana and their three daughters due to public vilification.

In 2019, Charles was seen selling jewelry at a Christmas market in Bath after declaring bankruptcy for the fourth time. Diana runs Bathwick Candle & Co, selling eco-friendly, essential oil-scented soy wax candles online. Charles also set up Abacus Computing Solutions and is the director of operations for his wife’s businesses.

Tecwen Whittock, involved in the same scandal, resigned from his lecturer position at Pontypridd College in Wales shortly after the trial and reportedly sold his Whitchurch home to cover fines and court costs.