Defrauded lottery winner to get some of his money

February 16, 2010 | In The News

From KVUE Austin – ABC Affiliate

A Texas lottery winner, who was told by a North Texas area clerk he had only won $2 when in fact he had won $1 million, will receive part of his winnings, a judge decided Tuesday.

Willis Willis took his lottery ticket to a Grand Prairie convenience store in May 2009 to see if he was a winner. But authorities say Pankaj Joshi, the clerk, told Willis he had only won a dollar and took the ticket.

Investigators believe Joshi claimed the prize for himself and fled to Nepal after $750,000 of the prize was transferred to him. He has since been indicted on a charge of claiming a lottery prize by fraud.

Prosecutors have recovered about $365,000 from U.S. banks, and since learning he was defrauded, Willis has been fighting the Texas Lottery Commission to be awarded the prize he won.

In November, the Travis County District Attorneys Office filed a motion to restore the recovered money to Willis. On Tuesday, Willis appeared in a Travis County courtroom, where a judge ruled Willis should receive part of his winnings.

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Cheated winner wants Texas lottery to pay him

November 2, 2009 | In The News, Sean Breen

By Austin, Texas (AP)
KVUE ABC Affilliate Austin

Attorney: Texas lottery won’t pay cheated winner

An attorney for a man who lost out on a $1 million jackpot says the Texas Lottery Commission still considers the store clerk who allegedly stole the ticket to be the winner.

Willis Willis lost out on the jackpot when the clerk allegedly cashed in his winning lottery ticket and disappeared. Willis’ lawyer, Sean Breen, says commission attorneys told the 67-year-old unemployed man Monday that the clerk is considered the winner because he signed the back of the lottery ticket.

Commission spokesman Bobby Heith declined comment to the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News. A message was left by The Associated Press Monday night.

Authorities are still trying to find the former clerk, who is charged with claiming a lottery prize by fraud.

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