Cough Up the $200,000, Winner Tells Lottery

     ALBUQUERQUE (CN) – New Mexico refused to pay a lottery winner the $200,000 he won, with the lame excuse that its lottery machine misprinted his ticket – and threatened to criminally prosecute him if he makes a big deal out of it, the man claims in court.
     Joseph Harvey sued the New Mexico Lottery Authority in Bernalillo County Court.
     Harvey claims he bought a “Frosty Fortunes” scratch-off ticket for $20 at a vending machine in a grocery store on March 29. It spit out a single ticket.
     Harvey says in the complaint that it was his first time playing a scratch-off lottery game.
     He says he scratched it off “a day or two later” and found that he had won $25 for having number 36, and $200,000 for having 44.
     He signed the ticket with his name, address and phone number, as instructed, and took it to a New Mexico Lottery Authority office in Albuquerque.
     There, a lottery employee named Randy told him he was out of luck, Harvey says.
     “Randy told Mr. Harvey that the NMLA would not honor its obligation to pay Mr. Harvey the winning amount,” the complaint states. “Randy stated that the vending machine had printed out a single card that was made up of the top half of one card and the bottom half of another.
     “However, the NMLA has not promulgated any rules or any other guidance as to what constitutes a single ticket for purposes of game play. Moreover, nothing on the Frosty Fortunes scratcher specified how a ticket was to be identified. Mr. Harvey simply paid for a single ticket, which he received.
     “Nevertheless, the NMLA refused to pay out on Mr. Harvey’s winning ticket. Instead, Randy told Mr. Harvey that he would be sent a check for $25.00. Randy stated this amount was the winning value of one of the cards he claimed made up the lottery ticket Mr. Harvey had purchased.
     “A couple weeks after he first presented his winning ticket to staff at the NMLA claim center, Mr. Harvey called the NMLA to revisit its decision to deny him payment of the
     $200,000.00. Randy threatened Mr. Harvey with criminal prosecution stating that if Mr. Harvey pursued the matter further, he would be prosecuted for ‘defrauding the government.'”
     He seeks $200,000, with interest and costs, for breach of contract.
     He is represented by Matthew Garcia with Garcia Ives & Nowara.

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