By Gregory Moore
You have to feel for 67-year-old Willis Willis of Grand Prairie, Texas.
With just a few dollars in his pocket, he purchased a lottery ticket at a local convenience store and like so many other lotto players, when it came to find out if he had a winning ticket, he asked the store clerk to check it for him.
Now this probably happens every day with no issue but in Willis’ case it was a big issue.
The store clerk, 25 year old Pankaj Joshi, told Willis that he indeed had a winning ticket; of two dollars.
And so Willis simply cashed his ticket for the two dollars and thought that was the end of it.
Willis actually had a winning ticket of $1 million and Joshi knew it.
And so what happened is a case that happens every so often; a store clerk swindling a customer out of potential winnings of thousands or even a million dollars.
Willis’ case now is in front of the whole world with the Texas Lottery saying that despite the overwhelming evidence showing Willis to be the winner, the store clerk was the rightful bearer of the ticket.
How is that possible you ask?
Willis, like so many other lottery players in the country, do not do the one thing that gives them legal claim of a winning ticket.
They do not sign the back of the ticket before cashing it in.
Like so many other cases that involve such fraud, Willis neglected this simple fact because he was under the assumption that he didn’t have to.
That’s a bad assumption on anyone’s part.
If you notice the photo enlargement, the Texas Lottery encourages every player to sign the back of their tickets so that an instance such as this does not happen.
For the player, this is actually his or her first line of defense against such fraud techniques.
The Travis County district attorney’s office is currently in the process of awarding Mr. Willis some $365,000 in funds from Joshi’s frozen bank account; which is quite extraordinary considering how circumstantial this case is.
And maybe law enforcement will be able to find the store clerk and bring him to justice.
But what doesn’t make this a slam dunk case is the fact that Willis did not sign the back of his ticket and this should be a lesson learned for all lottery players.
What was done to this senior citizen who was just looking for a few extra dollars is indeed atrocious but the commission isn’t the blame here.
If you’re a lottery player, sign the back of your ticket as a precaution to fraud.
After all, you took the time to play the game.
Shouldn’t you take a few extra minutes to ensure that you are the rightful owner of a winning ticket too?