Willis Willis Just Wants His Lottery Winnings
A man named Willis Willis is not happy, and not for the name-related reason you might think.
Willis, who is unemployed, has been playing the same set of lottery numbers at the Lucky Food Store in Grand Prairie, Texas for about 10 years. On May 29, Willis' ship came in, or at least it should have, when he bought the winning "Mega Millions" ticket that had a $1 million jackpot. The Associated Press reports that Willis asked Pankaj Joshi, the clerk at the Lucky Food Store, to check his tickets that day, but Joshi falsely told him that his ticket was worth only $2. Joshi immediately cashed in the ticket himself,
collected about $750,000, and disappeared -- possibly back to his native Nepal, authorities believe. Joshi, now considered a fugitive, was was indicted in September on a second-degree felony charge, and law enforcement officials were able to recover $365,000 of the $750,000 from his U.S. bank accounts.
The question now, as you may have guessed, is what, if anything, WIllis Willis is entitled to recover in this mess. His lawyers believe that Willis is the rightful winner, and they want the Texas Lottery Board to pay him the full $1 million. So far, however, lottery
officials reportedly consider the indicted Joshi to be the "winner" because he is
the one who redeemed the winning ticket. Today, Willis' lawyers announced that they have asked a local court to allow them to depose Texas Lottery officials about the incident in advance of a possible lawsuit to learn whether lottery officials were aware of past accusations of fraud by store clerks.
There is at least one bright spot for Willis: Patricia H. Robertson, the Travis County Assistant District Attorney, said yesterday that she will ask a judge to award the $365,000 recovered thus far to Willis.
Posted by Bruce Carton on November 25, 2009 at 11:31 AM | Permalink
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