Powerball player denied $340,000,000 jackpot over website error

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By Asiya Ali

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A Powerball player has claimed that he was denied a life-changing jackpot despite his numbers matching the lottery's website.

According to a complaint filed last November, John Cheeks, from Washington DC, bought a Powerball ticket on January 6 last year, using his family’s birth dates to select his numbers.

Cheeks missed the live drawing on January 7 and wasn’t in a rush to check his numbers since the chance of winning a Powerball jackpot is about 1 in 292.2 million. However, the following day, he decided to check the Powerball website and couldn't believe his eyes.

The entrepreneur alleged that he saw his winning numbers on the screen, leading him to believe that he was now a multimillionaire... but his dream was short-lived.

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Cheeks alleged that he saw his winning numbers on the screen, leading him to believe that he was now a multimillionaire. Credit: Mario Tama / Getty

Speaking to local broadcaster NBC 4, the unlucky "winner" opened up about the moment he saw his numbers: "I got a little excited, but I didn’t shout, I didn’t scream. I just politely called a friend. I took a picture as he recommended, and that was it. I went to sleep."

Cheek's court filings state that his numbers stayed on the D.C. Lottery website for three days and the size of the Powerball prize at that time was a staggering $340 million.

When he went to redeem his ticket at a retailer on January 10, he was shocked to find out that the digits on the website  - which were the ones on his ticket - didn’t match those that were drawn during the live Powerball broadcast.

Cheeks then explained to the publication that he went to the DC Office of Lottery and Gaming to see if he was still eligible for the reward money but he was rejected by staff.

He claimed that one employee told him: "'Hey, this ticket is no good. Just throw it in the trash can,'" but he gave them a "stern look" and said: "'In the trash can?' 'Oh yeah, just throw it away. You’re not gonna get paid. There’s a trash can right there.'"

Cheeks has since put the ticket in a safety deposit box and is now suing Powerball and the DC Lottery.

His lawyer, Richard Evans, said that his client was told that Taoti Enterprises - an advertising company that handles the DC Lottery’s website - had made a "mistake" and posted incorrect numbers.

"They have said that one of their contractors made a mistake," Evans said. "I haven’t seen the evidence to support that yet... Even if a mistake was made, the question becomes: What do you do about that?"

"There is a precedent for this, a similar case that happened in Iowa, where a mistake was admitted to by a contractor and they paid the winnings out," the attorney added.

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Cheeks was rejected by staff when he went to the DC Office of Lottery and Gaming to see if he was still eligible for the prize money. Credit: Tasos Katopodis / Getty

The publication contacted Powerball, the Multi-State Lottery Association, Taoti Enterprises, and several D.C. government entities named in the lawsuit by email. However, they all disclosed that their policy is not to comment on ongoing lawsuits.

The jackpot ended up increasing to an eye-watering $754.6 million before it was taken by a ticketholder in Washington on February 6.

Featured image credit: NurPhoto / Getty

Powerball player denied $340,000,000 jackpot over website error

vt-author-image

By Asiya Ali

Article saved!Article saved!

A Powerball player has claimed that he was denied a life-changing jackpot despite his numbers matching the lottery's website.

According to a complaint filed last November, John Cheeks, from Washington DC, bought a Powerball ticket on January 6 last year, using his family’s birth dates to select his numbers.

Cheeks missed the live drawing on January 7 and wasn’t in a rush to check his numbers since the chance of winning a Powerball jackpot is about 1 in 292.2 million. However, the following day, he decided to check the Powerball website and couldn't believe his eyes.

The entrepreneur alleged that he saw his winning numbers on the screen, leading him to believe that he was now a multimillionaire... but his dream was short-lived.

wp-image-1263249718 size-full
Cheeks alleged that he saw his winning numbers on the screen, leading him to believe that he was now a multimillionaire. Credit: Mario Tama / Getty

Speaking to local broadcaster NBC 4, the unlucky "winner" opened up about the moment he saw his numbers: "I got a little excited, but I didn’t shout, I didn’t scream. I just politely called a friend. I took a picture as he recommended, and that was it. I went to sleep."

Cheek's court filings state that his numbers stayed on the D.C. Lottery website for three days and the size of the Powerball prize at that time was a staggering $340 million.

When he went to redeem his ticket at a retailer on January 10, he was shocked to find out that the digits on the website  - which were the ones on his ticket - didn’t match those that were drawn during the live Powerball broadcast.

Cheeks then explained to the publication that he went to the DC Office of Lottery and Gaming to see if he was still eligible for the reward money but he was rejected by staff.

He claimed that one employee told him: "'Hey, this ticket is no good. Just throw it in the trash can,'" but he gave them a "stern look" and said: "'In the trash can?' 'Oh yeah, just throw it away. You’re not gonna get paid. There’s a trash can right there.'"

Cheeks has since put the ticket in a safety deposit box and is now suing Powerball and the DC Lottery.

His lawyer, Richard Evans, said that his client was told that Taoti Enterprises - an advertising company that handles the DC Lottery’s website - had made a "mistake" and posted incorrect numbers.

"They have said that one of their contractors made a mistake," Evans said. "I haven’t seen the evidence to support that yet... Even if a mistake was made, the question becomes: What do you do about that?"

"There is a precedent for this, a similar case that happened in Iowa, where a mistake was admitted to by a contractor and they paid the winnings out," the attorney added.

wp-image-1263249720 size-full
Cheeks was rejected by staff when he went to the DC Office of Lottery and Gaming to see if he was still eligible for the prize money. Credit: Tasos Katopodis / Getty

The publication contacted Powerball, the Multi-State Lottery Association, Taoti Enterprises, and several D.C. government entities named in the lawsuit by email. However, they all disclosed that their policy is not to comment on ongoing lawsuits.

The jackpot ended up increasing to an eye-watering $754.6 million before it was taken by a ticketholder in Washington on February 6.

Featured image credit: NurPhoto / Getty