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American sues Powerball lottery after apparent $340 million jackpot turns out to be a ‘mistake’


An American who thought he had won $340m (£270m) in a lottery is suing organizers and a website which published his figures he said were in error.

John Cheeks claimed to have seen his numbers on the DC Lottery website on January 8, 2023, after purchasing a ticket for the Powerball drawing held the day before.

In his lawsuit, he claimed that the numbers he chose – a mix of family birthdays and other numbers with personal significance – remained online for three days.

Mr Cheeks told NBC4 Washington, an affiliate of Sky News’ US partner NBC News, that he “was a little bit excited, but I didn’t scream, I didn’t shout”.

“I just politely called a friend. I took a photo as he recommended, and that was it. I fell asleep.

“I’m not a regular, except when the jackpot goes up,” he says.

But the numbers posted on the website were not those of the drawing, because, according to Mr. Cheeks’ case, a lottery contractor, Washington-based Taoti Enterprises, accidentally posted the wrong numbers – meaning that it was an “error”.

Fake numbers

In his lawsuit, Mr. Cheeks said that when he tried to claim the ticket, it was rejected and he ran into another brick wall at the Lottery and Gaming Center office. Washington.

He said an employee told him the ticket was “no good” and he should “just throw it in the trash”, adding: “You’re not going to get paid. There’s a trash can just there.”

Mr. Cheeks instead put the note in a safe, he said, and contacted a lawyer.

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As for the long gap between the alleged events and filing his case, Mr. Cheeks said he immersed himself in his work as he attempts to create a bank for people who do not qualify for traditional mortgage loans.

Similar case paid

Mr Cheeks’ lawyer, Richard Evans, said: “They said one of their contractors made a mistake. I have yet to see any evidence to support that.

“Even if a mistake was made, the question becomes: What do you do about it?

“There is precedent for this, a similar case that happened in Iowa, where an error was admitted by a contractor and they paid the winnings.”

Powerball, the Multi-State Lottery Association, Taoti Enterprises and various government agencies named in the lawsuit have been contacted for comment, 4NBC said.

Taoti has operated the DC Lottery website since 2022, he said on his own site.


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