Cheated lottery winner gets $395,000

AUSTIN – Willis Willis, the Texas Lottery winner whose $1million prize winning ticket was stolen by a store clerk has finally recieved some payment from the Texas Lottery Commission after they recovered some of the money that he was cheated of.

Most of the money was recovered from U.S bank accounts held by the store clerk who is believed to have fled the country to his native Nepal. $30,000 was returned by people that had recieved money from Pankaj Joshi, the store worker believed to be the thief of Willis’ money.  The people returning the money to its rightful owner may be relatives of Joshi. They will not face any criminal charges.

This saga has been going on since the end of May 2009 when Willis took his ticket to the store where Joshi worked to check if it was a winner. Mr Willis was told that it was only worth $2. The store clerk then claimed the million dollar jackpot prize. Only after co-workers of Joshi called in their suspicions to the Lottery Commission was the issue looked into and referred to the district attorney.

Willis said that he was “elated” to have recieved some of the money that he was due. He is, however, still hopeful of recieving the full balance in the future. After taxes the prize collected by Joshi was around $750,000. Willis’ lawyer said that around $307,000 has been frozen in Nepal and they are working towards having the funds released back to the United States so they can be given to Willis.

Mr Willis is adamant that the Texas Lottery Commission is responsible for making up any difference between what is returned to him and what the full prize amount is, since it allowed Joshi to claim the prize. The Lottery Commission has argued that since Willis didn’t sign the back of the ticket it could be claimed by anyone holding the ticket.



Published: February 18, 2010

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