WASHINGTON — A woman who says the Virginia Lottery owes her $20,000 after she hit it big with a scratch-off ticket may instead face charges.
On Aug. 22, Ardella Newman claimed a $2 ticket matched the number 16, making it a winner. However, lottery officials said there was a mistake. Newman pressed, saying she won and filing a complaint with the Virginia Lottery.
“I want the money that I thought I won. 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,” she told WJLA.
Lottery officials released the findings Wednesday of Newman’s case. They said there were two different issues with that ticket and a previous one Newman attempted to cash. In the case of the $20,000 winning ticket, she’d tried to pass off two different tickets as a winner:
The case in question involved a game that Ms. Newman believed entitled her to a $20,000 prize. The investigation has concluded that Ms. Newman was actually trying to cash two separate tickets, the lower portion of one ticket and the top portion of another ticket. Based on the ticket codes we obtained from our ticket vendor, we have determined that the top ticket was not a winner, but the small piece of the bottom ticket would have been a $4.00 winning ticket if Ms. Newman had the entire ticket.
The lottery came to three conclusions:
- The tickets presented by Ms. Newman were valid tickets that were torn, apparently when they were dispensed from Lottery self-service machine.
- The claim made by Ms. Newman involved two tickets. It would be a violation of the rules to award Ms. Newman a prize for mismatching parts of two tickets. The integrity of our games is our highest priority which is why we have rules that govern each game. It would be both unethical and unfair to all players to violate the rules for the benefit of one player.
- Had Ms. Newman returned the tickets to the store or to the Lottery unplayed, she would have received a full refund or replacement tickets.
Another case involving Newman went unreported before Wednesday. In that case, she claimed she’d won $52. Investigators determined she’d taped together portions of two different tickets in order to pass them off as a winning entry. The lottery said Newman admitted to it.
This second claim of Ms. Newman’s involved altered non-winning tickets to make them appear to be winning tickets. The Virginia Lottery is still reviewing this case to determine if additional actions are necessary.
This is a clear violation of Lottery rules and in this case, the law:
§ 58.1-4017. Alteration and forgery; presentation of counterfeit or altered ticket or share; penalty.
Any person who forges, alters or fraudulently makes any lottery ticket or share with intent to present for payment or to transfer to another person to be presented for payment or knowingly presents for payment or transfers to another person to be presented for payment such forged, altered or fraudulently made counterfeit lottery ticket or share sold pursuant to this chapter is guilty of a Class 6 felony.