By Larry Teren
The lottery seems to bring out the devil in too many people. The following true lottery incidents all point to underlying desperation of too many souls affected by an economy running in place.
A man claimed he won a $254 million first prize in the Powerball game. The store where the winning number was issued did not deny that he visited there regularly. He may even have been on the surveillance camera filming the checkout counter at the time the ticket was sold. But, he could not produce the ticket because he lost it. You know what they say- “no tickee, no washee!”
A 16 million dollar winner was issued in December, 2010. No one came forth until the last day or so of eligibility- a full year later. The thing was, the winner mailed it in from New York, claiming to have bought it while visiting Iowa a year earlier. The stranger part was that the name of the winner was a corporation with a person’s name acting as agent. There was no corporation listed in New York with the spelling on the ticket and the agent allegedly had previously conspired to do criminal acts in other states and was currently under legal entanglement. The Iowa authority was not releasing the money as they were suspicious as to whether the ticket was faked or if the true owner was trying to hide his or her identity due to trouble with the law.
A most bizarre situation involving a lady who grabbed the winning ticket out of a trash can in a convenience store after it had been discarded there. The Arkansas authorities gave her the money, which came out to about $680,000 after taxes. She quickly bought a used truck and gave some money to her kids. Now, the authorities took away the remainder as it sat in escrow by court order.
As originally noted only a few days ago, a judge found for a woman who argued that she had “accidentally” discarded the ticket in the trash because she thought it was a loser. We had reported earlier that the purchaser had tested the barcode scan of the ticket and the machine came back and indicated it was a loser. However, the story had substantially changed since then. The lady who found the ticket said that it was a scratch-off type and the numbers were only partially scratched.
The garbage can lady often would peruse the garbage can for tossed tickets. Why? Apparently there was a second-chance pool where one could register non-winning tickets at the lottery agency website.
She took the tossed ticket home with others and logged into the website to enter the numbers. The site would not accept the input and she quickly realized that only some of the numbers were made visible. Once she scratched the rest, she found that it was worth a cool million dollars.
The purchaser argued that she would never have relinquished the ticket if she knew it was a winner. She also claimed that the winning prize had to go to the one who purchased it. For some reason, this made sense to the judge who heard the case. He preliminarily awarded the money back to her.
However, by now a third party had entered the fray. The store manager said that the scavenger lady illegally took the tickets from the garbage can. She said that all discarded tickets belonged to her due to a deal she made with the store owner. She said there was a “Do Not Take” sign on the garbage can.
However, there were several regular store patrons who were willing to testify that was not the case, that people took from the bin all the time and that the sign was not up when the the lady put her hands elbow deep into it.
The judge froze access to the money until he can straighten this out.
A man went to the store to buy his regular lottery ticket. The clerk accidentally gave him the wrong
type of ticket but took the correct money, rung it up and could not void the transaction. He was a little upset until he saw that it was a $1 million winner. He promised to give the clerk a token of his appreciation after he received the money.
With his wife sitting next to him while being interviewed, he said: “My wife said that she loves me to death. Now, I believe it.”
This finally story has a feel-good ending. A homeless man won a $250 thousand dollar lottery prize. He eloquently explained how it would not change him. He said he knew that even though the amount was a lot to get in one swoop, it was not enough to sustain him. He wanted to use the earnings to go to school and get educated enough to get a good job. He also said he would help others as best as he could.
He had survived being shot in the head at the age of 19 and I suspect that he will survive this success as well.