Sixty-seven-year-old, Mr. Willis, resident of Texas, won a $1 million lottery jackpot recently. One would think that this unemployed senior citizen would be just as deserving as the next guy to win a big prize like this one, which would likely make his life a little easier and perhaps more fulfilling. However, as fortunate as Willis was to win, it was just as unfortunate that the dishonest store clerk who took his ticket to cash him out, took Willlis’s money and skipped town. After taxes it would have been worth about $750,000.
The accused store clerk, Pankaj Joshi, was employed at the convenience store where Willis purchased his winning ticket and multiple other previously purchased lotto tickets. Joshi supposedly told Willis his ticket that was actually worth millions was only worth $2, which Joshi proceeded to pay to Willis. Joshi now faces criminal charges that include lottery fraud. It is presumed that Joshi likely took the stolen money and fled to Nepal, his homeland.
Just like anyone would feel, Willis was enraged and is demanding that his winnings be repaid to him by the Texas Lottery Commission in spite of the fraudulent payout that had already been made.
On a lighter note, just about half of the money Joshi stole has already been reclaimed by banks in the US. In order to reclaim his winnings, though, Willis may face civil trial, as the lottery commission is not responsible or held liable for the clerks who operate the lottery via the licensees.
Willis has hired an attorney and is expressing a desire to avoid trial. He does, however, want his winnings to be paid to him in full, so his daughter will have her college education secured in spite of his failing health. Willis`s attorney has suggested there should be no need for a trial, as the lottery commission should fix this problem in good faith of business practices.
Willis will continue to play the lotto; however, he will not be returning to the same retailer to purchase tickets in the future, and it is likely he will be much more careful about who he trusts with his winning tickets. This should be a lesson to all—always check your numbers, scratch offs, etc. and know what you are owed before you hand your ticket to the cashier saying, “Is this a winner?”