Man sues after apparent $340m lottery win turns out to be a 'mistake'

A US man who thought he’d won $340m (£270m) on a lottery is suing the organisers and a website which published his numbers, it has said, by mistake.

John Cheeks alleged he saw his numbers on the DC Lottery website on 8 January 2023, after buying a ticket for the Powerball draw held the day before.

In his legal action, he has claimed his chosen numbers – a mix of family birthdays and other numbers of personal significance – were online for three days.

Mr Cheeks told NBC4 Washington, an affiliate of Sky News’ US partner NBC News, he “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.

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

But the numbers posted on the website were not those pulled out in the draw, because, according to Mr Cheeks’ case, a lottery contractor, Washington-based Taoti Enterprises, accidentally posted the wrong numbers – that it was a “mistake.”

Wrong numbers

In his lawsuit, Mr Cheeks said when he tried to claim on the ticket, it was rejected, and he met another brick wall at the Washington office of lottery and gaming prize centre.

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

Mr Cheeks put the ticket in a safe deposit box, instead, he said, and contacted a lawyer.

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As for the lengthy gap between the alleged events and his case being filed, Mr Cheeks said he has been immersed in his work as he is trying to set up a bank for people who don’t qualify for traditional mortgages.

Similar case paid out

Mr Cheeks’ lawyer, Richard Evans, said: “They have said that one of their contractors made a mistake. 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.”

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

Taoti has managed the DC Lottery website since 2022, it said on its own site.


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