Texas Lottery Says Too Bad It Paid $1 Million to Wrong Man

Texas Lottery Says Too Bad It Paid $1 Million to Wrong Man

Published November 3, 2009

Get this: A Texas store clerk steals a $1 million jackpot ticket and the Texas Lottery Commission determines that the indicted thief is the winner – not the man he stole it from.

An attorney for Willis Willis, the 67-year-old unemployed man who purchased the ticket in May, said his client’s apparent fortune turned out to be a serious bolt of bad luck. "They said, 'Too bad, Willis,' and, 'We've paid the other person,' and that they only pay one time," said the attorney, Randy Howry.

The commission said it was all Willis’ fault, because he didn’t turn the ticket in. Therefore, Pankaj Joshi, the former clerk who was indicted in September on one charge of claiming a lottery prize by fraud, is the actual winner, Howry said. Joshi signed the back of the ticket and cashed in the winning Mega Millions ticket that Willis purchased at the Grand Prairie convenience store in Austin on June 25 before vanishing.

Joshi told Willis the ticket was worth only $2.

"I never thought it would come to this," said Willis, who is contemplating a lawsuit against the commission. "By me not cashing that ticket in, to me it was a complete loss."

Written by BET.com Staff

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