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Friday, May 4, 2012

What would you do?

So this story has been on the news a few times here in Detroit, and I've read a few articles about it online. And I'm still not sure what I think the right thing in this situation is.... A woman in Arkansas found a $1 million dollar scratch off ticket in the trash. She frequently takes scratch off tickets out of the garbage because in Arkansas - much like in Michigan - you can enter the tickets online to for a "second chance" drawing. The woman the bought the winning scratch off ticket said when she scanned the ticket the machine told her it wasn't a winner and she subsequently threw the ticket away. The woman who found the ticket went to enter the ticket online and was notified that it was a winning ticket and she couldn't enter the ticket into the second chance drawing. So she cashed the ticket in and was paid the $1 million dollar prize. However the original winner found out that the ticket had been cashed and sued for the winnings to be returned to her. A judge sided with the purchaser of the ticket and has order the woman who cashed the ticket in to repay the prize.

 Here's one of the more complete stories I've found on this: Two Arkansas women fight to claim $1M lotto ticket
Photo from NewsTalkRadioWHIO.com

This story brings up so many issues for me....

First off, if the lady was sure that she had won but the machine said it wasn't a winner when she scanned it wouldn't she have taken it to a lottery office to have them verify? I know I would have!

Then the lady that took the ticket out of the garbage and found out it was worth a million dollars should have tried to find the rightful owner of the ticket. The lottery commission in Arkansas had video of the ticket being purchased (although the time does not match up). So the ticket could have been returned to the purchaser.

The purchaser of the ticket threw it away out of her own free-will. Doesn't that mean she forfeited any rights she may have had to the ticket?

And my biggest question of this whole thing is how did the woman who purchased the ticket know that the winning ticket was hers when it was cashed in?

I originally thought the money should be given back to the woman who purchased the ticket. But then again finders keepers comes to mind. I keep flip-flopping on this one. And come to find out the woman who cashed the ticket left her job to care for her father-in-law. Given that she's not working and is digging through trash to pull out lottery tickets to redeem online leads me to believe she is in dire straights. Not that she should be given a hand-out but I've struggled before and I know how hard it would be for me to give up a windfall like that. But maybe the woman who bought the ticket is also in need, I've not read much that explains her situation either way. I just really don't know who should get the money. Being me - if I were the woman who purchased the ticket I would ask for half of the winnings, as I did throw the ticket away. If I were the woman who cashed it I would have tried to find the rightful owner. As hard as it may be to give up that kind of money I think I would feel guilty spending it. I see both sides to this argument and can see how each woman has a fair claim to the money... I just don't know who's right. What do you think about this one?

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