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Powerball Player Gets $340 Million Jackpot Rejected After Massive Website ‘Mistake’

A Washington, D.C., man whose lottery ticket matched the posted winning numbers of a Powerball drawing online last year has filed a $340 million lawsuit seeking the money he says he won.

But the lottery company claims he didn’t win anything, saying the numbers he saw when he checked his ticket on the Powerball website were posted in error and didn’t match the actual winning numbers.

John Cheeks told WRC-TV in Washington that on Jan. 6, 2023, he purchased a ticket for a drawing the following day when he saw that the prize had ballooned to more than $300 million.

He explained that he does not buy lottery tickets regularly but did so in this case because the prize was so big. On Jan. 8, Cheeks went to the lottery website to reference the ticket with the numbers that were drawn.

He said the numbers online were an exact match to those on his ticket.

Cheeks said he hand-picked his numbers using the birthdays of loved ones as well as other numbers with personal significance and those numbers showed he had just won a life-altering amount of cash.

“I got a little excited, but I didn’t shout, I didn’t scream,” he told WRC. “I just politely called a friend. I took a picture, as he recommended, and that was it. I went to sleep.”

However, Cheeks said his excitement turned to frustration when he went to an authorized lottery dealer in the city and was told his ticket was worth nothing because it did not show up in the computer system as a winner.

Cheeks said he was even told to throw his ticket away.

“Hey, this ticket is no good,” he said an employee told him. “Just throw it in the trash can.”

“I gave him a stern look. I said, ‘In the trash can?’” Cheeks said.

He said the employee replied, “Oh yeah, just throw it away. You’re not going to get paid. There’s a trash can right there.”

Cheeks did not throw the ticket away but instead put it into a safe deposit box and called an attorney.

According to a lawsuit filed on his behalf by attorney Richard Evans, he was told there was a mistake when an employee with Powerball’s local vendor, Taoti Enterprises, posted the wrong numbers — Cheeks’ “winning” numbers — online next to the numbers that were actually drawn.

“They have said that one of their contractors made a mistake,” Evans told WRC. “I haven’t seen the evidence to support that yet.”

The attorney added, “Even if a mistake was made, the question becomes: What do you do about that?”

Cheeks is suing Powerball, the Multi-State Lottery Association, Taoti Enterprises and a number of other parties, none of which had commented on the lawsuit as of Saturday, according to WRC.

Last year, lottery officials in Iowa apologized after a “human reporting error” led to numerous people in the state being incorrectly told they had won.

It is not clear how many people won prizes, but they were allowed to keep amounts ranging from $4 to $200 and the Iowa Lottery apologized, KMSP-TV reported.

Evans cited the mishap in Iowa as precedent for his client’s lawsuit.

“A mistake was admitted to by a contractor and they paid the winnings out,” the attorney said.

  • andrew says:

    not sure how he has a case. The real drawing was televised with the numbers shown. If the website had the wrong numbers for a couple of days, that doesn’t really affect anyone other than people with the real winning numbers who may have thrown their tickets away, (they have a case) but he is not one of those cases. I think his attempt to redeem his ticket at a lottery dealer exposes the lie as pretty much everyone knows that the big payouts are not handled by a retailer and that you have to go to the lottery offices to redeem.



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