When something seems too good to be true, it probably is. That’s the lesson a Washington, D.C. woman is learning after she thought she won $20,000 on a scratch-off ticket late last month. Ardella Newman was in disbelief when she saw her winning number matched the corresponding prize of $20,000, according to local news affiliate KTLA5.
“When I saw that $20,000, you don’t know how excited I was,” Newman said.
And she certainly doesn’t agree with lottery officials claims that her ticket was issued in error. They’re arguing that legitimate tickets have winning numbers on the top, but Newman’s ticket displays them on the bottom.
“One ticket was cut off near the top, and the corresponding top of a different ticket was still attached at the perforation,” Virginia Lottery Communications Specialist John Hagerty said in a statement. “We cannot award a prize for a non-winning ticket. Additionally, we cannot take parts of two tickets to create one winning ticket.”
Unfortunately, she already had planned on using some of the money to help pay for medical bills for her ailing sister. Newman has filed a complaint with the Virginia Lottery and is awaiting the results of an investigation by the organization’s Audit and Security Department.
“I want the money that I thought I won,” she said. “If you look at the ticket, it says I won this money. It wasn’t anything that I did wrong. It’s what they did wrong.”
Perhaps the most condemning piece of evidence against Newman though is the barcode and validation code on the ticket. Both say the ticket was not a winner, according to Hagerty. Until the organization makes a ruling Newman can only wait, hope, and continue going to work at her old job like 48% of lottery winners do anyway. And any future lottery tickets she buys are sure to get a much more extensive look before she starts counting her winnings.