Texan Sues Over Stolen $1M Lottery Ticket

Lottery board sued after store clerk makes off with jackpot
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2011 2:36 AM CDT
Former Lucky Food Store clerk Pankaj Joshi is believed to have fled to his native Nepal.   (US Marshals)
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(Newser) – A Texas man allegedly scammed out of a lottery jackpot by a convenience store clerk is taking the state lottery commission to court. Navy veteran Willis Willis, 69, says clerk Pankaj Joshi told him his ticket was not a winner, then kept it for himself, cashed it in for $1 million, and fled to his native Nepal. A court awarded Willis $395,000 found in the clerk's accounts and Willis is suing for the remainder, notes the Austin American-Statesman.

The lottery vendor didn't play by the rules but still ended up with the money," the suit states. "Willis won a million dollars fair and square. The Texas Lottery owed him that money." The Texas Lottery Commission maintains that a lottery ticket is a "bearer instrument" and jackpots may not be paid twice. Joshi, who has been indicted on fraud charges, is still a fugitive.

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