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Is the woman who threw out a $1 Million dollar lottery ticket entitled to the money?

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posted on May, 3 2012 @ 05:21 PM
Here's how the story goes; a woman bought a lottery ticket and, after the drawing, checked it with one of those electronic scanners which told her "Sorry. Not a winner." She threw the ticket away in a bin next to the scanner.

Later, another woman came along, picked up all the discarded tickets from the bin, went home, checked the numbers on all of the tickets and found out one of the tickets had the winning number.

A judge has decided the woman who cashed in the ticket doesn't get to keep the money.

Woman who lost Ark. lotto ticket entitled to $1M

An Arkansas woman who cashed a $1 million lottery ticket may have to give up the winnings to a woman who threw away the ticket after she bought it, according to a judge's ruling Tuesday.

The judge decided that Sharon Duncan was entitled to the prize money, not Sharon Jones, who claimed the prize money after she took the ticket from a trash can of discarded lottery tickets at a convenience store in Beebe, a city about 40 miles northeast of Little Rock.

The attorney argued that people shouldn't be allowed to throw items away and then say, "'ooh, I want to un-abandon it.'"

"We'd have garage-sale law all over the place," he said. "It became trash when someone threw it away."

White County judge Thomas Hughes, however, said Jones never met the burden of proof that Duncan abandoned her right to claim $1 million.


The woman who lost in court has already spent some of the money on a new car and cash gifts for her children.

What I would like to know is; how did the first woman prove that she was the original owner of the ticket? If a winner comes forward saying they got the ticket from a trash bin, ANYONE can come forward with a sob story saying they were the one who originally purchased the ticket.

I say, once someone throws something into a trash bin, they give up any ownership rights to that property. There is the issue of the scanner that incorrectly told her she was not a winner but, that is not the fault of the person who cashed in the ticket.

If the first woman really can prove somehow that she did originally buy the ticket, she has a case against the state and the lottery commission because their error caused her to throw out her ticket. The lottery commission, or the company that makes the scanners, should be responsible for reimbursing this woman for her loss, not the woman who cashed in the ticket.

posted on May, 3 2012 @ 05:33 PM
I agree 100%. And if I were her attorney, I would be filing an appeal and make sure it is a different judge. Once you throw something away, you are removing all ownership of the object.

The woman who dug the tickets out of the trash should be entitled to the money, period. And the other woman may have a case with the state and/or the lottery commission. Good luck with that.

edit on 3-5-2012 by _BoneZ_ because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 3 2012 @ 05:34 PM
reply to post by FortAnthem

Wow, I'd have to call a major BS to this. How the woman who willingly threw away her ticket won the court caes I'll never know. She threw the ticket out, it would seem in a normal world that she gave up her rights to that ticket.

posted on May, 3 2012 @ 05:42 PM
In the uk a pensioner HAD his ticket, they agreed it was genuine, but it had a mark on it. The rules say it must be unmarked. He didnt get the money.

Not quite the same as the op but thought I'd mention it.

They should BOTH get the cash.
edit on 3-5-2012 by VoidHawk because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 3 2012 @ 06:03 PM
I guess the woman should be happy she didn't end up in jail for taking the ticket. It seems sick to me that we live in a society that punishes good luck and hard work.

The woman who threw away the ticket took the easy route. The one who cashed in the ticket worked hard, taking tickets from the bin, week after week and taking the time to actually compare the numbers on all those tickets against the winning numbers. She invested a lot of time into this and deserved the fruits of her labors.

If this ruling stands, it will be possible for someone to sell something at a yard sale for $2 and, when they find out the buyer discovers its a rare antique worth millions, demand to have their property given back to them.

At some point, people have to learn to take responsibility for their actions. Life is not a video game; there are no do-overs. When a person decides to sell something or throw it in the garbage, they need to accept the reality that they have relinquished their rights to ownership of that item and everything it contains by selling or throwing it away.

People need to learn to stop acting like a bunch of spoiled brat kids, grow up and take responsibility for their actions.

posted on May, 3 2012 @ 06:13 PM
I was so shocked when I read this. Whatever happened to 'finders keepers'? We live in a stupid world - that is getting worse.

The woman who found the ticket was entitled to keep the money. The newsagent's scanner was at fault. The newsagent should be sued (or whoever owns the scanner) - not the woman who found the money. Maybe the authorities are trying to tell people not to keep anything you find. Wonder if that applies to if you find coin on the footpath. I find lots of that. Should I be handing that it too?

posted on May, 3 2012 @ 07:05 PM
So, the manager of the store that sold the ticket ratted out the lady who found it and cashed it in? Seems to me that either the manager is friends with the original ticket owner, or she's angry because the lady who found it never buys anything at her store.

The whole story stinks. If the original purchaser of the ticket threw it away, then it becomes public property. Per the Supreme Court case in California, California v. Greenwood (1988), any trash placed on the curb or in a public place is considered public property, and as such can be searched or taken.

I think the court is trying to make an example of this woman, by ensuring that only people who part with their money to buy a ticket can get the prize, so y'all better cough up the dough if you want to collect the money.

I think the lady who found the ticket should be the one to keep the money.

posted on May, 3 2012 @ 07:49 PM
Found some more info on this. Apparently, it was a scratch off ticket that was the winner. Jones collected the discarded tickets because you can use them to enter for secondary prizes. She discovered it was a winner totally by accident.

White County Judge Thomas Hughes concluded that Duncan bought the winning ticket, even though lottery records and store security video didn't synch up to the precise timing of the purchase . He ruled that Duncan never abandoned her right to claim the winnings.


So let me get this strait; it was a scratch off ticket that was thrown away. You mean to tell me Duncan couldn't tell after scratching it off that it was a winner? She took the scanner at its word in stead of asking questions after scratching off a winning ticket? If she isn't smart enough to recognize a winning ticket or believe a computerized gadget over what should have been evident with her own two eyes, she doesn't deserve to collect the winnings.

Another thing, the article says the security tape and lottery records don't sync up with the timing of Duncan's purchase. She can prove she bought A ticket but, I don't see enough evidence that she bought the WINNING ticket. Something is definitely fishy here.

Another thing: the article mentions several times that the scanners don't make mistakes.

The state Lottery Commission said it is confident its machines work properly. "We've never had a report of a mis-scanned ticket," spokeswoman Julie Baldridge said.

The never had a report because nobody has ever double checked before. Makes you wonder how many other winning tickets got tossed in that state. It looks like the state has had other problems with its scratch off tickets.

edit on 5/3/12 by FortAnthem because:

posted on May, 4 2012 @ 05:32 AM
Several years ago, I bought some scratch off tickets at a convenience store, and after scratching them, I saw that one was worth $50. It was one where if you got 3 of the same, you won. Mine was 2 numbers plus a "wild" number, and the card said it payed $50 for that combo. I took it into the store to collect, and the clerk scanned it and said that it wasn't a winner, and he asked if I wanted him to throw it away. I showed him what the card said, and he still said it wasn't a winner. I kept the card anyways because something seemed fishy, and then a while later I stopped at a different store, and come to find out it really was a $50 winner. I told the clerk about what had happened at the other store, and he said that some shady clerks say that a ticket is not a winner, so that it will be thrown away there, and as soon as the person leaves they get the ticket out of the trash and give it to one of their friends to cash in for the money, because the clerks are usually not allowed to win, so they have to get a friend to do it for them.

After getting the $50 from the honest clerk, I gave him $10 of my winnings.

I have a feeling that this is what happened in this unfortunate Lady's case. I think that the clerk should be investigated. It just may show that something like the above may have happened.

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